The black jeep had slammed into a parked saloon in a quiet suburban street, just beside a house having a yard sale. Inside were two middle-aged people who looked like corpses.
Their eyes were closed, their mouths wide open, their bodies slumped together in a deathly embrace. The man’s head was tilted backward while the woman at the wheel lay across his shoulder. A syringe lay between her legs, and another was on the dashboard.
It was a grotesque scene. A couple of drug addicts so desperate to get their fix that they had injected right outside their dealer’s house – and were then hit instantly by the effects of deadly new synthetic opioid many times more powerful than heroin that is flooding the streets of America.
The police swung into action. Such scenes are wearily familiar in the country’s overdose capital. ‘C’mon girl,’ said one officer as he syringed Narcan – a drug that counters opioids – into the slumped woman’s nose. ‘Here she comes. Wake up, little Suzy.’
One estimate predicts 650,000 Americans will die after taking these drugs in a decade – more than the population of central Manchester.
Last week President Donald Trump bowed to pressure and declared a national emergency, ensuring extra resources on the front line.
Montgomery County in Ohio, which includes Dayton, is currently thought to have highest rates of deadly overdoses in America.
It is expecting 800 drug deaths this year – more than triple its 2015 tally. The 420 already logged easily exceeds last year’s total.
Fatalities include an airline pilot and his wife, babies who have simply touched the drugs, infants given them by addicts, teenagers and students, parents and pensioners.
Dealers have also died from toxic inhalation while chopping up supplies. And three nurses had to be given Narcan after losing consciousness when treating an overdose patient on Thursday,
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