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A “killer” batch of heroin has been linked to seven overdoses over a five-day period in the Augusta area, local police said.

Between Aug. 31 and Sept. 4, Augusta police responded to seven overdoses which they believe were caused by the same especially potent supply of heroin, an illicit opioid drug, a department spokesman said.

The Kennebec County Sheriff’s Department issued a similar warning Thursday, after deputies responded Sept. 4 to a heroin overdose in Litchfield that required deputies to administer two doses of Narcan, the opioid overdose antidote, to revive the person.

“This heroin is highly lethal, and the Augusta Police Department cautions anyone who may come into contact with it,” said August police Deputy Chief Kevin Lully, who urged those people to also call the police department.

Lt. J. Chris Read, of the sheriff’s department, echoed that plea throughout Kennebec County.

Neither law enforcement official said whether the suspected batch of heroin had been laced with fentanyl, a highly potent synthetic opioid that can strengthen the dose of a drug and increase a person’s chance of overdosing.

The relatively recent presence of fentanyl on Maine streets has soared with the number overdose deaths in Maine, which reached a record high of 418 in 2017. The majority of fatal overdoses have been from opioid drugs, mainly heroin and fentanyl, which police started to notice in Maine about three years ago.

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Callie Ferguson

Callie Ferguson is an investigative reporter for the Bangor Daily News. She writes about criminal justice, police and housing.