4th death reported in series of heroin overdoses on Chicago's West, NW sides; person of interest questioned

CHICAGO (WLS) -- A person of interest was being questioned Wednesday after 17 heroin overdoses - four of which were fatal - have been reported since Tuesday on Chicago's West and Northwest Side, police said.

Chicago police, along with agents with the Drug Enforcement Administration's Chicago Division, are questioning the individual in connection to Tuesday's distribution of apparently lethal heroin, according to a CPD/DEA statement.

The DEA's North Central laboratory completed analyses which revealed the presence of fentanyl, an antidepressant and other substances.

Dr. Allison Arwady, chief medical officer with the Chicago Department of Public Health, believes the opioid epidemic is one of the primary issues facing her department and the city

"Sometimes when we are seeing spikes like this, it's because there's an increase in amount of fentanyl or another even stronger opioid in the supply," Arwady said.

Ald. Walter Burnett (27th Ward) is frustrated by what's happening in his ward and across the city.

"I would hope that these incidents would encourage people to stop getting high. We don't want anyone to die," Ald. Burnett said. "We got to stop drugs from coming to the country. We have to stop drugs from coming to the state and city."

The Chicago Recovery Alliance on the West Side works on the frontlines, trying to reduce the impact on the abusers and their communities.

"These spikes are happening constantly. We see them around the city, we've been seeing opioid overdoses increasing for a very long time," Greg Scott said.

The investigation continues.

Anyone with information can submit an anonymous tip at cpdtip.com.

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