Overdoses in Huntington

by Kayla Lynch

For some people in the Huntington area, Aug 15, 2016 was just another normal day, but for 27 individuals, that day became tragic. These individuals bought and injected a very potent form of heroin.

A man from Akron, Ohio has pleaded guilty to distributing heroin mixed with fentanyl and carfentanil. Fentanyl is a painkiller that is 50 to 100 times more powerful than morphine. Carfentanil is among the most potent forms of opioid making it 10,000 times stronger than morphine. Not only is it an extremely potent opioid, but Carfentanil is one of the main ingredients in elephant tranquilizer.

Bruce Griggs, also known as “Ben” or “Benz,” is responsible for the overdoses of 27 people in just a four-hour span. Of the 27, two people lost their lives. Griggs now faces up to 20 years in a federal prison.

Narcan was used to help counteract the drug that the victims injected. Narcan is used to reverse the effects of heroin and other painkillers. It can be administered by giving someone a shot in the arm or by a nasal applicator.

Prosecutors say that Griggs sold around 13 grams of the cut heroin in half-gram measurements. Assistant U.S. District Attorney Gregory McVey led the prosecution against Griggs. His sentencing is set for April 10, 2017.

This is not Griggs’ first run-in with the police. In 2013, he was convicted on felony charges for possessing crack cocaine. He was sentenced to 18 months on probation. Griggs also had two other felony charges, which were dropped due to rejection by the grand jury.