SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Springfield police arrested more than 20 alleged drug dealers this past week, yet the heroin crisis continues to be a major problem in western Massachusetts.
Police conducted drug raids on Lebanon Street, White Street, Orange Street, Cedar Street, Oakland Street, and King Street, arresting at least 22 people and confiscating 7,139 bags of heroin.
Conquering the epidemic has been no easy task, but many residents, like Peter Simmons of Hampden, are still hopeful we’ll eventually get there. “I think everybody hopes it’ll eventually go away, it’s going to be a long, tough battle,” he said.
Despite all of the recent arrests, others aren’t convinced we’re doing enough to stop the heroin crisis.
Springfield resident Fred Basile told 22News he wants to know how long it takes for heroin dealers to get out of jail and get back on the streets. “The Springfield Police Department works so hard, getting all of these drugs off the street and arresting all of these criminals, however, we don’t know what the follow up is. I’m a landlord in Springfield, I see it on a regular basis. What happens to all of these drug dealers? Are they sentenced for a long period of time, are they let out?” he said.
Ruth Garcia of Holyoke argue focusing on the dealers will never be enough to stop the deadly epidemic. “It’s not just about the drug dealers, drug dealers are always going to be there. There could be many arrests but it’s an epidemic. I mean people did not start using drugs yesterday, this has been years,” she said.
Massachusetts isn’t the only state dealing with the epidemic. According to data from the U.S. drug enforcement administration, heroin seizures have increased 81% over the past five years.