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State Police Issue Statement Regarding Rash Of Heroin Overdose Deaths In December

Dec 18, 2014 01:51PM ● By Bill Gilman

Earlier this month, Massachusetts State Police Colonel Timothy P. Alben released a statement regarding the rash of suspected heroin overdose deaths in Massachusetts, thus far in December.

According to the MSP, 58 people died from suspected heroin overdoses between Dec. 1-16. This includes one death in Tewksbury.

Tewksbury Police have been engaged in an ongoing effort to eradicate heroin trafficking in town and have made three significant trafficking arrests in the past month.

TPD Chief Timothy Sheehan did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the statement by Col. Alben.

Statement of Massachusetts State Police Colonel Timothy P. Alben 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.

Below is a map of the suspected heroin overdose locations and numbers since December 1st in Massachusetts. Boston, Springfield and Worcester data is not included in this chart.


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