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Heroin combined with OxyContin kills nine in Las Animas County

By Michelle San Miguel, Multimedia Journalist - Pueblo Chieftain Bureau/Telemundo Anchor, michelle.sanmiguel@krdo.com
Published On: Apr 01 2014 08:06:27 PM CDT

Heroin combined with OxyContin kills nine in Las Animas County

LAS ANIMAS COUNTY, Colo. -

Nine lives were lost last year to overdoses from a combination of heroin and OxyContin.

"It's pretty catastrophic for the amount of population that we have in this area. There's not that many people here," said Las Animas County Coroner Dominic Verquer.

He said the number of deaths from heroin has increased in recent years. So far this year, he said three deaths were from possible drugs overdoses. He's awaiting toxicology reports.

Verquer said the majority of the people who died from heroin in 2013 lived in Trinidad. About 9,000 people live in the city.

Of the nine people who died last year, the average age was 33. The youngest was just 19.

"You haven't begun your life at 19 and your 30s are your prime of your life," Verquer said. "You should have goals set."

In two of those instances, he arrived and found needles still in their arms.

"The actual syringe was still half full so all they got was just a bare minimum in," Verquer said.

That syringe, Verquer said, was mixed with crushed OxyContin and black tar heroin. He said it's further proof that users are looking for the longest and greatest high they can get.

"Most of the autopsies that these people go through, physically they're fine," Verquer said. "Their bodies are in great shape. It's just that they decided to take the wrong steps in life and end their life."

KRDO-TV called and went to the Trinidad Police Department to see what officers are doing to deal with the problem but has not heard back. 

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