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Washington Co. sheriff: 4 overdose deaths may be connected to spike in east metro

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Updated 7:50 p.m. | Posted 2:22 p.m. 

Multiple police agencies in the eastern Twin Cities metro area have issued overdose alerts — two on Wednesday — after a recent spike in suspected heroin-related overdoses. 

The Washington County Sheriff's Office said four people have died in the last two weeks of suspected overdoses, with two of the deaths in the last 24 hours.   

Narcan also was used four times in the past two weeks by law enforcement in Washington County to save people from an overdose.   

St. Paul has seen at least five suspected heroin overdoses in the past 36 hours, the city's police department said Wednesday. 

It is uncommon to see that kind of spike in suspected heroin overdoses in that short span of time, said police spokesperson Mike Ernster.

The conditions of those who may have overdosed in St. Paul were not released.

The overdoses occurred across the city and could be the result of a "bad batch" of heroin laced with unknown substances.

"We would rather let people know what's going on so they can protect themselves with the hopes that they can get help and live another day," Ernster said.

In Dakota County, six adults are believed to have overdosed this past weekend at a home in South St. Paul.

All six were hospitalized and Dakota County authorities are investigating what specifically they took. 

All agencies say they're depending on tests to determine if the recent spike in overdoses could be contributed to heroin mixed with fentanyl, which is a deadly synthetic opioid. Drug task forces also are trying to find the source of the overdoses.

The official causes of death or overdoses may not be known for weeks.