7 opiate overdoses in Pasadena have police scrambling to see if they’re linked

Pasadena City Hall
Seven men in Pasadena have overdosed on opiates within a 24-hour span. Three of them died.
(Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times)

Police are investigating after seven men suffered from opiate overdoses in less than 24 hours in Pasadena, including three who died, authorities said.

“This is kind of a big blip on our radar all of a sudden,” Pasadena Police Lt. Pete Hettema said Monday of the overdoses, which occurred Friday and Saturday. “It appeared a bad batch got into the area somehow.”

Authorities are investigating whether the incidents are potentially connected to the same drug.


The men who OD’d ranged in age from 30s to 60s. One is listed in grave condition, officials said, while three others are recovering at a local hospital.

Naloxone — a nasal spray that can counteract the effects of an opium overdose — was administered to two of the survivors.

Trump vowed an all-out fight against opioid addiction. But opposition to insurance coverage and a lack of follow-through led to more deaths.

Aug. 23, 2020

Police are awaiting the toxicology reports from the autopsies of the men who died to confirm whether their deaths are linked to the same set of drugs, Hettema said. One additional drug incident was initially thought believed to be related to an opiate overdose but was not, authorities said.

“Opium-related deaths are not common in Pasadena, and both the police department and fire department are extremely concerned about the increase in overdose-related deaths over the past 24 hours,” the Police Department said in a statement.

Drug overdoses accounted for 10 deaths in Pasadena in 2017, according to the Pasadena Department of Public Health’s last mortality report. The most commonly cited causes of overdose deaths included alcohol intoxication, methamphetamines, cocaine and opiates.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 2,400 people in California died of opioid overdose in 2018 — the most current year on record. That accounted for roughly 45% of drug overdose deaths in the state. The term opioid includes opiates — natural pre-processed drugs — and synthetic drugs.


Deaths from drug overdoses have increased across all age groups over the last decade. Opioids and synthetic opioids — such as fentanyl — have been the main cause. Last year, several student deaths at USC were connected to fentanyl overdoses.