Six people suffered fatal heroin overdoses Sunday in Philadelphia's Kensington neighborhood, prompting the latest police investigation into a rash of drug-related deaths. Several others overdosed and were hospitalized, authorities said.
Sunday's toll follows several dozen heroin-related overdose deaths in the city during the past month, many of them in the same neighborhood.
Five of the six victims on Sunday died within blocks of each other in Kensington, a neighborhood with open-air drug markets and streets littered with empty heroin baggies and used needles. The last one was in North Philadelphia.
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The deceased included five male victims, who ranged in age from 24 to their mid-40s, police said. The one female who died was in her 30s. She was discovered on East Indiana Avenue. Most of the others were found on or around Kensington Avenue, authorities said.
According to Fox 29, police have been investigating a particularly potent batch of heroin that has circulated through the city for the last month. A specific brand or "stamp"has yet to be identified.
A similary dangerous batch was also blamed for nearly 50 overdoses in the last month in Kensington and parts of North Philly alone. None of those overdoses was fatal.
Bad batches can be created when heroin is cut with fentanyl, an opioid painkiller that's one of the strongest opiate drugs on the market. According to doctors, the fentanyl-heroinmix acts quickly in the blood stream, and takes away a body's urge to breathe. Overdose is common because people aren't sure how much fentanyl they've taken.
Fentanyl was responsible for Prince's death earlier this year, authorities said, when mislabeled pills seized from the musician's home were found to contain the opiate.