A bad batch of “Hollywood” heroin has been responsible for 8 fatal overdoses in Massachusetts, in the last week.
According to Dustin Finch, Massachusetts State Police Trooper, authorities are yet to determine how long it has been since the fatal strain made its first victim across the state.
Nicknamed “Hollywood” because of the label that appears on the bags, the batch is thought to have caused 8 deaths until now, although their number may in fact be much higher.
All of the casualties have been reported in Hampden County: most of them were in Chicopee and Holyoke, while another victim was identified in Springfield.
In Chicopee, in the period spanning from December 30 to January 1, there have been seven drug overdoses believed to have been provoked by Hollywood heroin, and 3 of them were eventually deadly.
Meanwhile, in Holyoke two deaths have been confirmed to have been caused by this deadly batch, while an inquest into another fatal overdose is currently under way, in order to establish if this casualty was also caused by Hollywood heroin.
As revealed by Jim Albert, Holyoke Police Department Lieutenant, several people who had also overdosed on this perilous opioid painkiller were administered Naloxone, which successfully reversed the drug’s effects. Also, a few others managed to survive after receiving other types of emergency medical care.
While these incidents were being reported, back in Sprinfield law enforcement confiscated approximately 9,000 packages of Hollywood heroin during the weekend, finding around 8,000 of them in a bogus car bumper.
They also seized cash amounting to $20,000, and apprehended 4 suspects: Juan Perez, Elvis Luckham, Francis Willor and Elvin Resto.
The men have charged with heroin possession and drug trafficking, the trial commencing on Monday, December 4, when the indictment was read.
According to John Delaney, Springfield police sergeant, while the drug bust yielded good results, it may be that much more Hollywood heroin is actually available to consumers even at the moment, probably commercialized under a different name or in other areas.
Therefore, people are strongly urged to stay away from this type of drug, which has already proven deadly on several occasions, during such a small timespan.
Authorities suspect that the reason why Hollywood heroin is even more unsafe than other strains is linked to the fact that the drug has been combined with other undisclosed ingredients (adulterants), resulting in a fatal cocktail.
Another theory is that the batch contains such pure heroin, that some drug addicts have little tolerance to it, being unable to survive even small doses of this opioid.
Fatal overdoses caused by opioid-based narcotics, such as oxycodone, heroin and morphine have surged by as much as 63% across Massachusetts between 2012 and 2014, a number of 1,089 deaths associated with such drugs being reported in 2014.
This distressing trend has been reported across the nation as well, where the number of people dying after overdosing on heroin and prescription meds soared by 14% during the course of just one year (between 2013 and 2014).
In fact, the highest number of unintentional deaths reported in the United States in recent years has resulted from drug overdoses, whose total casualties have surpassed the ones linked to traffic collisions.
Image Source: The Bell Ringer