Deadly batch of heroin linked to several overdose deaths

755 people died from heroin overdoses in Massachusetts last year

CHICOPEE, Mass. (WWLP) – A deadly batch of heroin is circulating through western Massachusetts.

At least eight overdose deaths in Chicopee and Holyoke have been linked back to a specific batch of dope labeled, “Hollywood” heroin.

Holyoke Police issued a warning Friday after at least three overdose victims died in less than 24-hours. By Friday night, Chicopee Police issued a similar warning on Facebook.

Chicopee Police Officer Mike Wilk said at least seven people have overdosed on heroin since Wednesday, and three of those victims died from their overdoses.

Stephen Scytkowski of Springfield told 22News, hearing that doesn’t surprise them because they feel as though the heroin and opiate epidemic is getting worse instead of better. “I think it’s common, I know the police try to stop it but I don’t think they will, there’s too much around,” he said.

The Hampden County District Attorney’s Office has launched an investigation with state and local police to locate the source of the “Hollywood” heroin.

Saturday afternoon, District Attorney Anthony Gulluni issued the following statement: “Family and friends of suspected opiate users should be advised of a potentially more lethal strain of heroin being distributed in the area.”

Bev Germain of Springfield told 22News, she worries drug users won’t heed the warning. “I don’t think they have a concern of that, they’re just looking for that immediate fix. Seeing that it spreads to the other towns is very concerning considering that I have three young to 30 year old boys,” she said.

According to statistics from the State Police, 755 people died from heroin overdoses in Massachusetts last year, spreading to 11 of the state’s 14 counties.

More than 37 of those overdoses occurred in Hampden County, a statistic that hits close to home for anyone who has ever known an overdose victim, like Bryan Silkey of Westfield. “I know a lot of people are dying from it, I just a lost a friend, a family man, he just got hooked on the wrong stuff,” he said.

District Attorney Gulluni is also reminding the public of the “Good Samaritan Law,” which says anyone who calls 911 to report an overdose will not be charged for having, or using heroin or prescription pills.

In a press release, the Massachusetts State Police said: “The Massachusetts Substance Abuse Information and Education Helpline provides free and confidential information and referral for alcohol and other drug abuse problems and related concerns. The Helpline is staffed 7 days a week. This service helps people of all ages, and assistance is available in multiple languages. Phone toll free: 1-800-327-5050 ”

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