I-Team: Inside the heroin epidemic

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – For the last several months 22News has been covering western Massachusetts deadly drug epidemic. There have been roughly 185 drug overdose deaths in Massachusetts since November.

Springfield’s Jose Roman admits a couple years ago, he was only adding to the crisis. “When you’re in the grip of your addiction to heroin, you wake up in the morning thinking who am I gonna rob today.”

Luckily, his life isn’t like that anymore. He got sober in November 2012,  but a lot of addicts still work the streets.

“In Western Mass you can get a bag of heroin for 3-7 dollars a bag,” said Drug Enforcement Administration Spokesman Anthony Pettigrew.

Pettigrew told the I-Team part of the reason heroin use has increased so dramatically in our area, is because it’s so cheap.

“What you’ll see is, the closer you are to a larger source, which is New York City in this case, the cheaper it’s going to be.”
Pettigrew said South America is the source for most of the region’s illegal drugs.

They come into the U.S. from Mexico, are then driven up the East Coast to New York where it’s then picked up by someone else who drives it to Massachusetts.

Roman told the I-Team you’d be surprised by who’s driving the drugs. “It could be a grandmother and a grandfather who are approached by somebody who has money and has said, listen here’s $5,000, go to New York at this address, they’re going to give you a package, you bring it to me.”

Roman, who admits he used to sell heroin, said once it’s here, people buy it in nearly every community. “Enfield, Agawam, everywhere Hampden, everywhere, they’re everywhere, this is not just a Springfield problem.”

The Springfield Bureau of the FBI and the DEA are fighting the drug epidemic on two fronts. They’re working to stop the drugs from leaving source countries, and they’re infiltrating the groups moving and using drugs here.

Roman says he’s happy he’s no longer running from cops, and works every day to stay on the right track. “I do not think I’ll get high today, I can not promise tomorrow, this is a daily thing.”

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