The heroin epidemic is believed to have cost two Sterling Heights residents their lives in just two days.
“It is affecting the entire community that we live in,” said Chief John Berg, of the Sterling Heights Police Department.
On Wednesday Sterling Heights Police went searching for a missing 19-year-old woman from Sterling Heights. They had a tip she might be in a Detroit neighborhood. As they searched they found her body in the grass of a park off of Syracuse, not far from Seven Mile in Detroit.
On Thursday, Warren Police found the body of a 23-year-old man from Sterling Heights in a grassy lot next to a shopping center off of Tuxedo and Ryan, not far from 14 Mile Road.
Police are waiting for toxicology reports to confirm their suspicions, but say it appears these two strangers both were killed by heroin.
The mother of the man who died on Thursday tells Seven Action News his name is Aaron Hill. He struggled with addiction in the past, but was with his family the night before he was found dead. She says she is waiting for toxicology reports to confirm investigators’ suspicions. Her 23-year-old son had recently been diagnosed with a clotting disorder. She says that can't yet be ruled out as a cause of death.
Regardless of the cause of death, she says she witnessed him struggle with heroin. She says she believes it is most important to drive home the dangers before someone tries the drug and is hooked.
“We are seeing an exponential growth in the use of heroin,” said Chief Berg.
Sterling Heights is seeing 3 to 5 overdoses a week. Most are saved by first responders, but 2-3 people die a month. Warren is on track to have double the number of deaths this year, compared to last year.
“The leading cause of accidental death used to be automobile accidents. Today, it is opiate heroin overdoses,” said Mayor James Fauts of Warren.
Part of the problem is heroin on the market now is sometimes mixed with fentanyl or elephant tranquilizer, making it more deadly than ever.
Police Chief John Berg says those struggling with addiction can contact local police departments for help finding treatment. The department will help them. In the meantime, the department is warning dealers they are going to be targeted.