Growing problems with heroin abuse in Wisconsin are starting to show signs in northern parts of the state, with Merrill recording its first overdose death from the drug.
Authorities say 29-year-old Nicole Hedges of Tomahawk overdosed on the drug at a Merrill domestic violence shelter this month. Coroner Paul Proulx says she consumed a large amount of heroin, bordering on what's called a "hot shot." He says Hedges likely took the drug, feel asleep, and never woke up.
Police Chief Ned Seubert says Hedges' death is the first caused by heroin in the city, but abuse of the highly addictive drug is growing. He says why the drug is becoming more prevalent in the region is not known.
Seubert says a criminal probe is underway to find who supplied the drug that killed Hedges on May second. The death has been ruled accidental, though whoever supplied Hedges the drug could be held criminally responsible.