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Associated Press

LONGVIEW — The Cowlitz County coroner says super-pure heroin is blamed for the deaths of seven people in the county in five days.

Coroner Tim Davidson told the Daily News on Wednesday that, in his words, “They’re dying with the syringe still in their hands.”

The victims include a man who died in a grocery-store restroom and a man who died last Friday in Kelso but whose body was found Tuesday night along a creek.

Deputy Coroner Brett Dundas says medical examiners in Vancouver and Portland are also talking about the extremely pure heroin, sometimes called “hot heroin.”

Dundas says people who take the drug go into immediate respiratory failure.