CHICAGO (CBS) — At least 18 people in a two-block section of East Garfield Park overdosed on heroin Tuesday. Police now say a heroin handout, a batch laced with Fentanyl and other substances, is the likely culprit.
Those who live near Chicago and Homan say it’s nothing new.
“We feel like we’re basically in a war zone right now, and it’s just ridiculous,” one neighbor said.
“I’m angry,” said Sandra Brinson. “We have an alderman that’s giving us no attention and doing nothing over here. Nothing.”
That alderman disagrees.
“I’m a former alcoholic myself,” said Ald. Walter Burnett. “You think I don’t care about people getting high off of drugs? We’ve been fighting drugs for a long time.
Burnett has been the 27th Ward alderman since 1995.
“Only thing I can say is you can’t satisfy everyone,” Burnett said.
He also defended his record, speaking with CBS 2 a day after the station repeatedly reached out to him for comment.
“What else can I do? I mean besides talking to the police. What else can I do?” he said. “Of course I’m talking to the police. I can’t tell you what me and the police talk about. The police got some things going on.”
Chicago police said they are now speaking with a person of interest in connection with those drug overdoses. Burnett said it’s just one part of a never-ending battle in his ward.
“We have more arrests in this area than any other area in the City of Chicago,” he said. “It’s intergenerational.”
But many residents said the dealing around Homan and Chicago is constant, and they’re tired of seeing people overdose in their neighborhood.
“I do everything I can, but I can’t take that responsibility. I can’t take that burden because I wish I knew how to solve it,” Burnett said.
Burnett said the drug problem is citywide, not just in his ward. He said police work to get dealers out of the area, but other just come in to sell.
Chicago police confirm four of the people who overdosed Tuesday died.