Body ID’d, police suspect heroin OD


By PATIENCE COLLIER, staff reporter

A dead body was found on Sunday afternoon in Kiwanis Park. Police believe the cause of death to be a heroin overdose, pending a toxicology test.

The victim was identified as Chase Wade, a 28-year-old male resident of Ellensburg. Ellensburg police are still looking into the death, said Captain Jim Keightly.

“There are no indications of foul play, as far as what caused the death,” Keightley said.

The police do not believe the overdose was intentional, or an attempt at suicide.

“People who overdose on drugs typically don’t overdose on purpose, they’re not trying to commit suicide on overdose,” Keightley said. “We have no reason to believe that that was his intent.”

Keightley denied that Kiwanis Park is an area where buying or selling heroin is common, saying that the victim had likely just stopped at the park for a chance to administer the drug, rather than buying it in the area.

“Ellensburg is too small to have places like that,” Keightley said, regarding areas where heroin would be commonly sold or obtained.

Keightley said the use of heroin in the area has been on the rise in the past few years, and there seems to be a rise in fatalities, which has been shocking to the community. He believed that this was due to fewer opium-derivative drugs being available as pharmaceuticals.

“You’re no longer capable of getting the same effect from a drug as you do from heroin itself, so individuals are going back to heroin, and heroin is a drug that an overdose can kill you,” Keightley said.

Keightley believes that drug culture has not widened, but the fatalities were mainly caused by users returning to heroin, rather than painkillers based on opiates.

He said that heroin as a drug is more potent, and unpredictable in its potency, leading users to more easily overdose unintentionally.

“The typical drug user doesn’t know the potency of that drug that they’re taking on any given day,” Keightley said.

 

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