Dangerous form of heroin enters Juneau

Heroin powder. (Photo courtesy Drug Enforcement Administration)
Heroin powder. (Photo courtesy Drug Enforcement Administration)

The Juneau Police Department recently received an anonymous tip that a dangerous form of heroin has entered the city. Lt. Kris Sell said it’s called “China white,” and the police have been told it may be laced with fentanyl, a prescription drug used for pain management.

“The fentanyl being mixed with the heroin could be a game changer,” she said. “They might misestimate what their dosage would be. What people have been telling known users in the community is to have a friend around, use lightly.”

Five heroin overdoses occurred over the weekend. One of the cases also involved meth. Emergency responders found that China white was involved in two of the overdoses, Sell said.

Sell said typically this type of heroin isn’t found in the city.

“Usually in Juneau we see a black tar heroin that is a more crudely processed form of heroin and usually comes from Mexico,” Sell said.

China white is in powder form and comes from Asia. Sell said the police haven’t been able to confiscate the drug yet. Capital City Fire/Rescue was able to administer lifesaving Narcan to three of the overdose patients.

This year, seven people have died in heroin-involved deaths.

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