2 deaths from heroin overdoses in San Juan Islands this month

Brandon Shuff, 42, died March 5, 2018 in Eastsound and Thomas Kramer, 25, died March 10 on Lopez Island. According to San Juan County Prosecutor and Coroner Randy Gaylord, the deaths appear to be caused by heroin overdoses. Shuff had only lived on Orcas Island for a few months, he was from Louisiana.

The two deaths are part of a cluster of what appear to be heroin-related deaths in the past few weeks. Evans Funeral Chapel staff told Gaylord, they've handled five overdose deaths in the past few weeks. Gaylord and the Skagit County Medical Examiner are worried and have requested toxicology tests to find out if the heroin was laced with some other chemical. Both of the men in San Juan County were in robust health and experienced heroin users, Gaylord said.

Due to backups at the state toxicology laboratories, the Skagit County Medical Examiner is considering having a private laboratory conduct the tests. Results are expected by the end of this month. Gaylord said they are urging the state legislature to fund more toxicologists.

Gaylord said using heroin is like playing Russian Roulette. "It's always dangerous but is super-dangerous now." he said.

The name Thomas Kramer will be familiar to people who have lived in the islands for the past decade. As an unlicensed 15-year-old driver, he drove 120 mph on Lopez Island and fatally injured Paul Jaholkowski of British Columbia. A young bicyclist riding with her family was maimed. Kramer was sentenced to 15-36 weeks in juvenile detention.

Related article: Kramer sentenced to 15-36 weeks in juvenile detention for fatal car crash on Lopez; An additional 45 days for five other counts




1 comment

  • Leanne GrosJacques Burt
    Leanne GrosJacques Burt Sunday, 18 March 2018 19:27 Comment Link

    Wait!!!! How could you possibly post this!! Remove it! This family is sadden by a loss of a son! Who was at one time an amazing athlete of Lopez high school. A non drinker and a non drug user who my own family loved like one of our own. He spent much time on Friday harbor YOU have no idea who he is or what you are posting. Accident that is the key word. We are trying to love the family as our whole community should. The lack of officers from our poor leadership is where we should be highlighting our news media not on the loss of one of our own.


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