LACONIA — A Belknap County grand jury has indicted a former Belmont man on two counts of selling a controlled drug to a man he described as his best friend. The friend is alleged to have died as the result of injecting it.
Jonathan Woodbury, 32, was also indicted with one count of selling heroin to Michael Chamberlain and one count of selling fentanyl to him.
Police and emergency workers were called to 56 Arlene Drive in Belmont on February 7 for a report of a man having breathing difficulties. Arriving first, two Belmont Police officers said they found Chamberlain lying face up in a bedroom gasping for air but Woodbury initially told them he didn't know what was wrong with him.
During the conversation, police said Chamberlain stopped breathing and one police officer began administering CPR in an effort to revive him.
After many tries by police to get Woodbury to talk to them, he is said to have told them Chamberlain may have taken heroin.
A Laconia ambulance crew was the first to arrive and once learning Chamberlain had taken heroin, tried unsuccessfully to inject him with NARCAN. He was pronounced dead at 10:29 p.m. and the N.H. Medical Examiner said she saw a fresh needle mark on his left arm.
Although the Lakes Region has seen a number of heroin overdoses during the past year, this is one of the first documented cases where fentanyl has been identified as one of the causes of death.
In February the federal Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration issued an advisory warning communities that there has been a marked increase in the number of deaths related to fentanyl-laced heroin, with 22 deaths being recorded in Rhode Island and 17 in Pittsburgh, Penn. Varying new reports said that actor Philip Seymour Hoffman may have died from an overdose of fentanyl-laced heroin.
SAMHSA describes fentanyl as a powerful opioid that when combined with heroin, also an opioid, can cause severe injury and death. Fentanyl is typically prescribed in patch form.