2006-10-20 / Front Page

Drug Mix Killed Men In Broad Channel

Series Of Meetings To Address Drug Use In Town
By Brian Magoolaghan

It wasn't laced heroin that killed two Broad Channel men last month, it was a lethal mix of heroin and cocaine, The Wave has learned.

Joseph Knapp, 24, and Philip Girace, 31, were killed by the "combined effects of opiates and cocaine," according to the Chief Medical Examiner's report. A spokesperson specified that the opiate involved was heroin.

The deaths were ruled accidental.

A third man, who was with Knapp and Girace at a party in Broad Channel hours before their deaths, suffered an apparent drug overdose and was treated at Peninsula Hospital Center.

Investigators first suspected that the men had shared a batch of heroin laced with fentanyl, a powerful painkiller. That deadly mixture has been blamed in at least 17 deaths in the city since May, according to health officials.

Combining cocaine and heroin - sometimes referred to as speedballing - can cause death because cocaine, a stimulant, increases the heart rate while heroin slows it down. The effect of the cocaine usually wears off before the heroin, which can cause delayed respiratory problems and overdoses.

The incident stunned and saddened many in the tight-knit community. In response, Daytop Village, the Broad Channel Athletic Club and the Broad Channel Volunteer Fire Department are sponsoring a series of meetings on "the realities of drug abuse in Broad Channel."

Dr. Peter Guiney and other staff members at Daytop will discuss drug prevention, signs of drug use and other drug-related topics.

The first meeting, for adults only, is scheduled for Wednesday, October 25, 7:30 p.m. at the VFW hall on Shad Creek Road. Dates for a second meeting for children and adolescents, and a third for adults and children, have not been announced yet. Call (718) 474-3800 for more information.

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