Police Chief: Someone Used My Business Card To Snort Heroin

By Keri Blakinger 08/03/17

The police chief used the incident to reach out to the public via Facebook about the dangers of drug exposure.

a person handing their business card to another person

An Ohio woman could be facing charges after authorities say she passed out while snorting heroin - and used the police chief’s business card to do it. 

The 47-year-old Uniontown woman was staying at a house in Canal Fulton when another resident found her nearly knocked out in her bedroom, police said in a Facebook post.

“She was standing with both feet on the ground and leaning over the bed, however, from her waist up she was not touching the bed,” the witness told police. 

The woman, who police did not name, was snoring and almost appeared to be levitating - clearly the sign of a good nod. But when the worried fellow resident spotted some powder on the counter, he scooped it up - along with some nearby paraphernalia - and delivered it to the local police department. 

There, the woman copped to snorting smack - through a makeshift straw fashioned out of the chief’s rolled up business card. 

As it turned out, Police Chief Douglas Swartz had visited the home days earlier and left contact info for another agency, written on the back of his own business card. When the Uniontown woman found herself in need of a snorting device, she made use of the chief’s jotted note. 

Instead of getting arrested, the unnamed woman was given a notice that she has 30 days to seek treatment in lieu of prosecution. If she opts not to, she’ll be hit with a felony drug possession charge in about a month, police said.

“Heroin users are walking amongst us in the thousands and dropping like flies,” the chief warned in last weekend’s Facebook post. “Libraries, public bathrooms, parks, in vehicles at intersections, and even sidewalks are common scenes where heroin addicts are collapsing the very second after ingesting this drug.”

The post goes on to advise residents not to pick up any drugs they might find for fear of potential overdose, citing a since-debunked incident elsewhere in Ohio that gained national attention.

“We saw a scary example of this in the East Liverpool Police Department where a police officer was exposed to the drug when he wiped a powder off his uniform with his bare hands allowing the drug to enter into his body,” Swartz wrote.

Although Swartz’s warning matches the episode Officer Chris Green initially reported, experts have since said it’s unlikely that merely brushing away powder would be enough to spark an overdose. 

“Neither fentanyl nor even its uber-potent cousin carfentanil (two of the most powerful opioids known to humanity) can cause clinically significant effects, let alone near-death experiences, from mere skin exposure,” emergency physician Jeremy Faust wrote in Slate. “If Green’s story is true, it would be the first reported case of an overdose caused solely by unintentional skin contact with an opioid.” 

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Keri Blakinger is a former drug user and current reporter living in Texas. She covers breaking news for the Houston Chronicle and previously worked for the New York Daily News and the Ithaca Times. She has written about drugs and criminal justice for the Washington Post, Salon, Quartz and more. She loves dogs and is not impressed by rodeo food. Find Keri on LinkedIn and Twitter.