Sharp rise in heroin deaths

Thessaloniki police yesterday expressed fears that a killer batch of heroin has flooded the city’s drug market after a total of 12 addicts died of overdoses in the past two weeks. Since January, 30 Thessaloniki addicts have succumbed to fatal overdoses of heroin, which is mostly imported from Turkey and through Greece’s northern borders. Police attribute the high number of recent deaths to a single consignment of heroin which has either been thinned out with other poisonous substances or is of dangerously high purity. «We have had nearly one death every day,» Thessaloniki Coroner Matthaios Tsoungas told Kathimerini. «But unless their own family is affected, nobody is interested, or worried any longer… We just manage the problem, without providing a solution.» A total of 39 people died as a result of drug abuse in Thessaloniki in 2003, but this number is expected to be far surpassed this year. In Attica, the death toll has reached 24, compared to 38 during the first half of 2003.