Not counting this weekend’s possible heroin-related death of a Derry woman in Blairsville, there have been at least six deaths in Indiana County this year connected to the dangerous drug. Indiana County Coroner Mike Baker says three or four of those deaths have occurred within the last month. And those are just the deaths tied to heroin. Other drugs are also wreaking havoc on Indiana County’s residents, from the people who die from them to the people who turn to violent crimes and thievery to support their habits.
Baker says a Derry Township woman most likely died from a heroin overdose early Saturday. 23-year-old Billijo Marie Aikens of Old Route 217 was driven to the Blairsville Citizens Ambulance station by her ex-husband, Justin Foster of New Florence. The coroner was told by other sources that Aikens had spent the previous night at Tommasini’s Tavern near Hillside and was using injectable drugs. Foster came to drive her home, but he said they both fell asleep in his truck and when he awoke, she was unresponsive.
Preliminary findings from an autopsy Saturday in Pittsburgh are, in Baker’s words, “entirely consistent with an overdose of narcotics”, and he strongly suspects heroin. State police in Greensburg are handling the investigation.