Increase in Massachusetts heroin deaths

NORTHAMPTON, Mass (WWLP)– A new tracking system has uncovered an overwhelming number of people in Massachusetts have died from heroin overdoses.

The state police have tracked at least 185 deaths from heroin overdoses in the last four months.

Massachusetts State Police Spokesman David Procopio told 22News that number does not include overdose deaths in Boston, Springfield and Worcester which keep their own records.

The state police implemented a new tracking system a year ago, so there are not comparable numbers available from this time last year, but Procopio said the numbers are an indication of an increase in heroin related deaths in the state.

Procopio said the increase may be due to a more potent strain of heroin going around or an increased in availability of the drug.

Other reasons state police suspect an increase in deaths is suppliers may be cutting, or mixing, the drug with synthetic substances like Fentanyl, which is a medication often used for pain relief after a surgery.  Users often take the drug at the same time as other as other drugs, like prescription painkillers.

33 of the heroin related deaths were in Western Massachusetts, 19 of them in Franklin and Hampshire counties.

Poll Question Results from 2/26/2014:
Do you know or have you ever known anyone who struggled with heroin addition?

Yes- 31%
No- 69%

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