Sheriff: Heroin an “epidemic” in Hillsdale County

HILLSDALE, MI (WLNS) – A recent string of heroin overdoses has a mid-Michigan community wondering what is going on. Today, three men were in court for the drug-related death of a Hillsdale man – the overdose death of Curtis Fowler of Hillsdale in February.

28-year-old Marques Darron Dula, 25-year-old Corey Lee Gamble, and 30-year-old Christopher Vanloon could face up to life in prison if found guilty of providing a controlled substance causing death. They are also charged with conspiracy to commit delivery of a controlled substance causing death.

Today’s probable cause hearing for the three was continued until April 28th.

It isn’t just a big city issue. Heroin use is on the rise in rural Hillsdale County. Sheriff Stan Burchardt sees it first hand.

“I call it an epidemic. And I think we fall in line with the state and with the nation. This is not a problem isolated to Hillsdale County,” said Sheriff Burchardt.

Since 2015, there have been a total of 14 overdoses in Hillsdale County. One of those resulted in the death of a male on Ash-Te-Wette Beach Drive.

And the sheriff thinks a potential cure is part of the problem.

“{some think} ‘Hey, I don’t have a problem because there’s Narcan. So, I’ll go ahead and continue to take this poison. And, if I get in trouble, I have something to fall back on,'” said Sheriff Burchardt.

Only the Hillsdale Fire Department and Ambulance can administer Narcan to someone who has overdoses. That’s the sheriff who warns not to depend on it to save your life. His advice: if you haven’t started…don’t.

“Get treatment, get to somebody,”Burchardt said. “Get away from heroin because it could be fatal.”

According to the Hillsdale County Sheriff’s Department, of the 14 heroin overdoses they have had there: 10 have survived but 3 have died. Officials are waiting for the toxicology reports of the 4th victim to confirm if it was a heroin overdose.



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