3 Dead, 4 Hospitalized in Suspected Drug Overdose

Three people were killed and four others were hospitalized early Sunday, Sept. 22, in what police said appeared to be a mass drug overdose.

The victims, all men, appear to have taken narcotics at the same time and in the same place in an apartment on Pittsburgh’s South Side, authorities said.

Authorities responded to a report of an unconscious man in an apartment complex elevator around 2 a.m. Sunday. The man was pronounced dead at the scene, Pittsburgh Director of Public Safety Wendell Hissrich said.

Shortly later, paramedics responded to another man a few blocks away, outside, who was “somewhat conscious” and had symptoms similar to those of the first man. He was taken to a nearby hospital, Hissrich said.

Police traced both men back to an apartment on the city’s south side. There, they found five other people who also apparently overdosed.

Hissrich said he believed the victims were men between about 30 and 50 years old.

“The victims—including three people who died and four who remain hospitalized—appear to have been at the same venue together, and then to have gone to a second location at a private residence where they apparently overdosed on drugs,” Pittsburgh police said.

It wasn’t immediately clear which drug or combination of drugs was involved. Investigators were interviewing survivors at the hospital.

Multiple Deaths Wrist Bands
This is the apartment building on the city’s South Side where Pittsburgh Police say three people are dead and four others are hospitalized in what they’re calling a “medical situation” on Sept. 22, 2019. (Gene J. Puskar/AP Photo)

All of the victims were wearing orange paper bands on their wrists. Police determined the victims initially went to a venue together, then headed to the apartment where they overdosed.

“To be clear, this was not a case of a tainted drug being passed around or distributed in large volume at a large venue which could have affected even more people. It appears to have been isolated to a single location,” the Pittsburgh Department of Public Safety said in a statement. “However, police are concerned about a tainted, potentially deadly batch of drugs in the community.”

“We remind the public not to use drugs,” the department said. “Simply put: You do not know what’s in that drug.”

Multiple Deaths Wrist Bands
Pittsburgh police investigators gather outside an apartment building on the city’s South Side where Police say three people are dead and four others are hospitalized in what they’re calling a “medical situation” on Sept. 22, 2019. (Gene J. Puskar/AP Photo)

The hospitalized victims’ conditions ranged from serious to critical.

The apartment building said the victims were not tenants of the building, but knew someone who lived there.

The CNN Wire contributed to this report.