The death of William White, Jr., 37, found in a house at 27 East Side Road in Oak Bluffs last Thursday may be related to heroin use, Oak Bluffs Police Lieut. Tim Williamson said.
Friends stopped by the man’s house in the morning to check on him after he had not been seen for some time, and found him dead on the floor. Police discovered bags of heroin in the house, and a needle near Mr. White, who is from Webster but had been living on the Island for some time, according to Lieutenant Williamson.
The exact cause of death will not be known until the state medical examiner provides a report, but it does appear to be related to heroin use, Mr. Williamson said.
Heroin use has been responsible for three on-Island deaths since the start of the year, and for numerous trips to the emergency room that largely escaped public notice, according to police.
On Tuesday night, police and EMTs responded to a call for a 27-year-old man in respiratory distress. The man was “completely blue” and not breathing, Lieutenant Williamson said, symptoms consistent with an opioid overdose.
Oak Bluffs Police have just begun to carry the overdose drug Narcan, also known as naloxone, which can reverse the effects of potentially fatal opioid overdoses. On Tuesday night, it was used by police for the first time, and saved a young man’s life.
Lieutenant Williamson said the man was semiconscious and breathing on his own when he was transported to the Martha’s Vineyard Hospital.
Police are continuing to investigate Mr. White’s death. Anyone with information is asked to call Oak Bluffs Police at 508-693-0750.