BOSTON (WWLP) – Since the beginning of December, State Police across Massachusetts have responded to 58 suspected heroin/opiate related deaths.
According to a statement release by State Police Colonel Timothy Alben, this conclusion is based on evidence collected at death scenes and interview statements from family and friends of the victims.
Alben said that the number of heroin/opioid related deaths is not specific to one community, but rather an issue in “cities and towns, large and small, urban, suburban and rural, in all regions of the state.”
Below is State Police Colonel Timothy Alben entire statement regarding suspected heroin deaths across Massachusetts:
Since December 1st, Massachusetts State Police Detectives assigned to our District Attorney’s Offices across the state have responded to 58 suspected heroin/opiate related deaths across the state.
Our investigators, working in conjunction with local police, draw these preliminary conclusions based upon evidence located at death scenes and interviews with witnesses, family or friends.
The department is currently cataloguing and comparing evidence to determine whether any common patterns or similarities exist in terms of the composition, brands, or sources of the narcotics. That effort is ongoing and we have reached no conclusions as of yet.
One area in which there are no commonalities are the locations of these suspected overdose deaths. They are occurring in cities and towns, large and small, urban, suburban and rural, in all regions of the state.
Based on many years of investigative work, we know that narcotics purchased on the street can have widely varying concentrations and may contain toxic chemical additives or impurities. While the causes of these deaths are suspected overdoses, the official cause of death will not be confirmed until the Medical Examiner performs toxicology testing, which generally takes several weeks.
The Massachusetts State Police, working with the DEA and local police across Massachusetts, continue to target the illegal drug trade – from the street level, up the supply chain, to major dealers. We recognize, however, that enforcement is but one component in mitigating this public health threat.
Treatment and counseling strategies currently being employed by public and private health agencies offer the best opportunities for assistance with substance abuse issues. We raise these concerns in the hope that families, friends and acquaintances of those suffering from addiction might better understand the hidden dangers of heroin use and direct those with addictions to sources of help and rehabilitation. If one person heeds this message it may prevent the loss of a life.