SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Opiate addiction has continued its deadly spread across western Massachusetts.
Hampden County District Attorney Anthony Gulluni issued a statement Saturday night to warn the public about the increase in overdose emergencies and deaths.
Gulluni said State Police detectives attached to his office are trying to figure out whether a deadly strain of Heroin is responsible for the spike in overdoses.
Kelley R. of Springfield is a former addict who was hooked on heroin for nearly five years.
She told 22News she’s witnessed several overdoses in the past, and that wasn’t even enough to convince her to stop. “It’s scary. Somebody’s literally dying right in front of you, and there’s not all that much you can do,” she said.
The 24-year-old said she wouldn’t be surprised if a deadly strain of heroin is to blame for the overdoses. She said many addicts search for the most lethal strain they can find. “If they know somebody who overdosed, they’ll ask what they overdosed on because it got them so close to dying, it got them so high,” she said.
According to the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, there were 668 deadly opiate overdoses in 2012. In 2014, that number skyrocketed to 1,099.
Evert Jansen of Springfield told 22News he grew up with several people who lost their lives to opiate addiction. “The addiction becomes stronger and stronger, and it’s an addiction that overpowers the mind. These are the things these are kids are doing, they’re just taking whatever they can and putting it in their veins and four or five days later, they’re dead,” he said.
Gulluni said he wants to remind the public about the state’s ‘Good Samaritan’ law, which protects anyone who reports an overdose from being charged.
The District Attorney said he wants to remind the public Naloxone, or “Narcan,” is now available over the counter in most pharmacies. He said the drug can reverse the effects of an opioid overdose.
Gulluni is also reminding residents of the state’s ‘Good Samaritan’ law, which protects anyone who reports an overdose from being charged.
District Attorney Gulluni is asking anyone with information on the recent overdoses to call the Massachusetts State Police, Springfield Barracks, at 413-736-8390, or use the anonymous service, Text-a-Tip: text message “crimes” (274637) and begin with the word “solve.”