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In the News: Massachusetts Reports at Least 185 Heroin Deaths Since Nov. 1

The outrageous data released by state police focuses on the growing problem of heroin overdoses in the Northeast. The state police announced on Tuesday that the plague of heroin has hit Massachusetts hard, where 185 people have died from overdosing on the toxic drug since November 1st. The February 2nd overdose death of 46-year-old actor Philip Seymour Hoffman brought to light the seriousness of the heroin epidemic sweeping the country.

There were numbers presented on Tuesday that don’t even include the state’s three biggest cities; which are Boston, Springfield and Worcester. The bleak numbers present a picture of a horrible problem in the New England state of some 6.7 million people. State police spokesman David Procopio told the Boston Globe “We are continuing to investigate and analyze the problem in conjunction with our local police partners.” “We firmly believe that it is a problem that cannot be solved solely by arrests, although street enforcement is vital. Treatment and public education components are equally essential. Once we are able to gather more information we will release it to the public.”

USA Today reported that the appalling stat was released as at least six states consider “Good Samaritan” laws that would give protection to drug users who bring their overdosing friends to get medical assistance. Seventeen states and Washington, D.C. already have such a law on the records to try and stop overdose deaths. The amount of heroin overdose deaths in other states over a related time period weren’t instantly available. State officials have told the Providence Journal that in just a small period of 13 days in the month of January, at least 22 people died from heroin overdoses. And Rhode Island is a much smaller state than Massachusetts.

A lot of the deaths may have been initiated by the existence of fentanyl, a potent painkiller additive that can prove fatal even to experienced heroin users. Assessments of the heroin used by Hoffman when he died in his West Village apartment showed no signs of fentanyl, but much of the drug held by authorities in the Northeast had been cut with the powerful opioid. Richard Holcomb, who is the director of Providence nonprofit that works with addicts, has told the Journal that “the word on the street is that there’s bad heroin out there.” “People believe that they’re shooting heroin but the substance does not look like heroin and they’re shooting it and they’re dying.”

Honestly, at this point heroin has become such a large epidemic across the country that it’s hard for me to think of what there is to do to prevent these fatalities from happening. As drug addicts, a lot of us hear that our friend died of a drug overdose from some strong heroin and say “do you have his dealers number?” Because that must be some good s***! It’s sad but true, this was literally what one of the clients in the detox group me and my coworker do on Thursday mornings said. We are sick with the disease of addiction and our brains don’t work how they should when we are in active addiction. I just hope that somehow, someone or something gets through to the addicts who want to use this heroin before they do and it takes their lives. If you or a loved one are struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll free 1-800-951-6135.


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