UPDATE 3 p.m. Monday: Morgantown police say they have seized more than 100 charged vape solutions, marijuana, packaging materials, empty vape cartridges and have arrested one juvenile suspect.
Morgantown Police Chief Ed Preston says with the help of other agencies and the Mon Metro Drug Task Force police made the raid today and continue to search for additional pens and/or solution.
Preston says the devices are known as “TKO.”
The investigation is still ongoing, and it is believed that there are other brands and types of vape cartridges in circulation, but the “TKO” is confirmed as one that was contaminated with heroin and other dangerous chemicals.
Anyone with information regarding this potentially deadly product should turn it in at a school office or the police department.
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – The investigation in Morgantown into the origins of vape pens, laced with heroin and other chemicals, is in the early stages as Morgantown Police had higher priorities after learning about the overdoses of two high school students within a 24-hour period.
Two students, one from Morgantown High and another from University High, were hospitalized on Friday for overdoses. One of the vape solutions tested positive for heroin, opioids and other chemicals. With two overdoses coming in such a short time frame there was concern that more of the pens were on the street and posed a potentially fatal threat.
“Our primary goal was to make certain we didn’t have continued overdoses,” explained Morgantown Police Chief Ed Preston on WAJR’s Talk of the Town.
“All I could see was a situation like we had in Huntington a while back when carfentynal first hit the area and mass casualty response. I was trying to head that off.”
According to Preston, the vape pens are a recent phenomenon and he’s never dealt with anything quite like the incident on Friday. Solutions of high concentrations marijuana are used in the devices. Preston says it’s too early know if the presence of opiates in the solutions was deliberate or unintentional.
It’s difficult to know how long the tainted pens have been on the streets. Since the investigation started on Friday, Preston says they’ve received reports of vape pen users suffering seizures, who have no history of seizures or epilepsy.
The priority now is to try to identify what chemicals are in the pens, where they’re coming from and preventing any other overdoses.
“Turn the things into school administration or police,” emphasized Preston. “We’re not concerned about charging somebody with possession, we’re trying to find out exactly what’s out there so we can determine the appropriate response from a law enforcement standpoint, so we can track down the dealers and distributors of these things.”
Preston was unable to provide an update on the conditions of the two teenagers who were hospitalized on Friday.
WAJR Radio News reporter Mike Nolting also contributed to this story.