Overdose Deaths Hit Triple Figures in Massachusetts

Overdose Deaths Hit Triple Figures in Massachusetts

By Shawn Dwyer 02/25/14

State police reported that 185 people died from heroin overdoses in the last four months – and that's excluding the state’s three largest cities.

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Massachusetts State Police has reported that at least 185 people have died as a result of heroin overdoses since November 2013. The numbers represent overdoses that occurred in southeastern Massachusetts, western Massachusetts, Merrimack Valley, and Middlesex County. Excluded in the report were statistics from the state’s three largest cities – Boston, Springfield, and Worcester – which are released by city officials and not state police.

“Our experience and accumulate knowledge, however, indicates that these numbers absolutely represent an increased rate of fatal heroin overdoses,’’ said state police spokesman David Procopio.

The news comes at a time when states all across the northeast have been experiencing high rates of overdose deaths from heroin, due in large part to dealers cutting their dope with highly toxic fentanyl. Everywhere from Pittsburgh to Rhode Island has seen a spike in overdose deaths, while typically idyllic locales like Vermont and Maine have been overrun by the heroin scourge.

“We are continuing to investigate and analyze the problem in conjunction with our local police partners,” Procopio said. “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.”