FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) — Last year, Fort Wayne saw a record in drug overdoses. On average, someone in Fort Wayne died from a drug overdose every other day.
It’s not a good sign that this year there are 44 confirmed overdose drug deaths and 46 toxicology reports pending, says Capt. Kevin Hunter, who oversees the Fort Wayne Police Department’s HART team in Fort Wayne.
Last year, the record was set at 173 drug overdose deaths.
However, during a sit down interview with WANE 15, Hunter, HART team officer Jeremy Ormiston and Darcy Robins, a social worker with the HART team, took some credit for the lower number of non-fatal overdoses. This year, the non fatals were at 390 at the end of May compared to 600 at the same time last year.
Since October 2019 when HART ( Hope and Recovery Team) got started with a two-officer team, it’s been in contact with 821 people who experienced overdose. Last year, they contacted 371 individuals. This year, that number was 137 at the end of May.
Typically, overdose deaths include Fentanyl, a drug so potent it only takes 2 milligrams to kill someone and is 50 to 100 times more deadly than heroin. Although Fentanyl is often found in the fake Percocet pills that pass for pain pills, sometimes called M30s, it’s also being found in methamphetamine, a street drug currently on the rise in Fort Wayne.
“Typically, it’s coming from Mexico. That’s one thing that they’re making right now in super labs in Mexico and shipping it to the United States. And it’s not just Fort Wayne that is seeing an increase in meth. It’s the entire United States,” Hunter said.
Police are also seeing more powdered cocaine, Hunter said. Meth seizures are down from last year which was a record year for seizure of the drug, but powdered cocaine has been seized at more than twice the rate as last year, according to data supplied by Hunter’s department.
“It seems like stimulants are up right now,” Hunter said. “That’s one of the desired drugs out on the street (and is probably) what the cartels have access to and are shipping into the area.”
Last year, the department set records for meth, fentanyl and M30 pills. “That’s what’s flooding the area right now,” Hunter added. The fake pills cost between $5 and $20 apiece.
One of the reasons, meth is so popular is price. At the height of Covid-19 pandemic, meth was going for around $1,200 an ounce. Today, that is down to $200 to $400 an ounce. With typical use around half a gram to a gram, that means the user can stretch their consumption to between 28 and 56 uses.
The drugs come in to the city by vehicles, mail and UPS parcels.
Hunter said heroin is more expensive because it’s more difficult to process. Heroin originates from the poppy flower that’s “very expensive” to grow and must have water and be harvested. A kilo of heroin costs around $80,000; a kilo of fentanyl is about $7,000.
“All you’re doing is mixing chemicals together,” Hunter said, speaking of fentanyl. Those chemicals may typically come from China, but are being distributed through the cartels in Mexico.
Cocaine isn’t cheap and is often referred to as “the rich man’s drug.” Cocaine costs about $2,800 an ounce and is the same price it was during COVID, Hunter said. However, a typical snort is .1 gram and there are about 18 grams in an ounce.