As heroin incidents rise, Ithaca police urge residents to be aware and ask for help if they need it

October 28, 2014 by Rachel Cera

With a trio of drug-related incidents in the course of a few days, including two deaths, the Ithaca Police Department wants to make the community aware of the problem, and urge people to get help with addiction if they or someone they know needs the help. Mayor Svante Myrick said this afternoon, "Know that anyone who calls 911 to save a life will not be prosecuted for drug possession."

A man who died while walking on west hill on Saturday "is believed to have overdosed on heroin," an IPD statement says. The victim, found lying on the ground on Chestnut Street, was 23-year-old Travis Vorhis. An autopsy was performed on Sunday, and investigators determined there did not appear to be "suspicious circumstances" regarding the homeless man's death.

Police say another person was found passed out in a bathroom in a west end business on Monday afternoon. The subject was revived with Narcan, a product now carried by area police and other emergency responders that can save some overdose victims, and transported to the hospital.

Just this morning, police say a man was found deceased in an apartment in the 100 block of West State Street. The subject was found unresponsive and not breathing, and Bangs Ambulance personnel confirmed the man was deceased. He was transported to the hospital for an autopsy.

Police suspect a heroin overdose in all three instances, and investigators are looking into the possibility that the same heroin source was used by all three victims. It's "still too early to conclude" whether the heroin may have been laced with a foreign substance.

"If you are addicted to heroin or if you know someone that is addicted to heroin, please reach out for help" says IPD public information officer Jamie Williamson. "There are a multitude of addiction recovery services in the Ithaca area that can and will help."

Williamson asks anyone with information that could aid investigators looking into the sale or use of heroin to contact IPD through police dispatch at 607-272-3245, the administration line at 607-272-9973, the Crimestoppers Tipline at 607-697-0333, or the anonymous online tip form.

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