2 drug counselors overdose and die at halfway house in Chester County

Two counselors at a halfway house for recovering addicts in Chester County died Sunday of drug overdoses, the county District Attorney's Office said Wednesday.

Residents found their counselors unresponsive in two bedrooms at Freedom Ridge Recovery Lodge in West Brandywine Township around 2 p.m. They tried to revive one with a nasal spray of naloxone. When the counselor did not respond, the residents called 911.

The counselors, who lived and worked at the home, were pronounced dead at the scene. Their names were not released.

Police found used needles and heroin baggies near the bodies in the bedrooms. Both tested positive for heroin and fentanyl, according to preliminary toxicology tests.

"If anybody is wondering how bad the opioid epidemic has become, this case is a frightening example," Chester County District Attorney Thomas Hogan said in a statement. "The staff members in charge of supervising recovering addicts succumbed to their own addiction and died of opioid overdoses."

Freedom Ridge operates out of a home used as a halfway house for six men in a residential area.

Chester County detectives and the West Brandywine Township Police Department are investigating.

The fatal overdoses follow the deaths last week of an advocate for safe injection sites for heroin addicts in Philadelphia and the cofounder of a Bucks County drug treatment program, both from overdoses.

An earlier version of this story identified the bags of heroin found near the bodies by symbols on them. At the request of Drug Enforcement Administration officials, who say addicts will actively seek out heroin that has reportedly killed others, the photos and identifications were removed.