HOLYOKE, Mass. (WWLP) – Alarming amounts of the synthetic opioid fentanyl are being seized in Massachusetts.
According to a new report released by the Drug Enforcement Administration, law enforcement across the country seized more fentanyl last year than ever before.
According to a new report from the DEA, Massachusetts drug labs analyzed the second highest number of fentanyl samples in the country.
The DEA said fentanyl is being mixed with heroin, often without users knowing until it’s too late.
“A friend of mine died while he was on fentanyl,” Luis Nieves from Holyoke told 22News. “He didn’t know he shot up some fentanyl, he died instantly. People are dying. They don’t know what they’re using, they don’t know what they’re getting inside of a bag.”
Nieves’ friend is among a growing group of overdose victims.
Fentanyl was blamed for an estimated 2,000 deaths in Massachusetts last year.
President Trump declared the opioid crisis a national public health emergency Thursday, diverting federal funds to improve access to medical care and addiction treatment.
“It’s a move local recovery specialists like Debra Flynn-Gonzalez, from Gandara Center’s Hope for Holyoke Recovery Center, say was much needed,” Flynn-Gonzalez said. “We’ve been waiting for that, I mean it’s definitely at a point of epidemic. We’re seeing so many overdose deaths. We want people to get into recovery, but they have to be alive to do that.”
Heroin-related overdose deaths more than quadrupled from 2010 to 2015.
Senator Ed Markey called President Trump’s declaration inadequate.
Markey plans to address the new public health declaration with addiction treatment providers Friday morning in Boston.