Lethal 'Hollywood' Heroin Strain Is Killing Users in Massachusetts

Illustration for article titled Lethal Hollywood Heroin Strain Is Killing Users in Massachusetts

In New England, the heroin epidemic has crawled into the early days of 2016: In the past week alone, eight people have reportedly died from a lethal strain called “Hollywood” that is currently coursing through Massachusetts.

State police aren’t sure how long the drug has been circulating, according to CNN, and they’re only clear that the strain is called “Hollywood” because of the drug’s packaging. The victims died in Holyoke, Chicopee, and Springfield, where local cops are warning their constituents about the strain’s name in hopes of saving lives. Local police also seized 9,000 bags of the drug over the weekend and arrested four people in connection to the bust.

Unfortunately, it’s unlikely that locking away 9,000 packs of heroin in a police evidence locker will do much to slow the region’s ongoing struggle with the drug. From CNN:

“Just like in all of New England, Springfield does have a heroin problem,” Delaney said.

While this is an abnormal number of overdoses in a short time, heroin is a problem in Massachusetts, said Albert of the Holyoke police. That’s why police decided to address the public about this deadly strain.

“We wanted to warn them,” Albert said. “I know you’re out there buying these bags, but you have to be careful. This stuff will kill you.”

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Massachusetts saw a 63 percent increase in opioid-related overdoses from 2012 to 2014, according to the state’s Department of Public Health. Nationally, deaths from an overdose peaked in 2014 and continue to rise, according to the Center for Disease Control.


Contact the author at Hillary@jezebel.com.

Image via Springfield, Massachusetts Police Facebook.

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DISCUSSION

poodler
Poodletime

As a resident of MA, the thing that irks me the most is the backlash on ordinary pain patients of the heroin/opioid epidemic. It’s become outrageously difficult to get even 10 percocet, from doctors you know, who know you and why you need them, because they are afraid of getting a visit from the DEA. It’s time to legalize these kinds of drugs, so that buyers know what they are getting ( I was in a marijuana dispensary in CO recently, and it was amazing how much the sales reps knew about each strain, and the symptoms it was suited for, or the high you could get from it.) Imagine that you could buy heroin legally, knowing exactly how potent it was, and could adjust your dose based on how much you had taken recently and what was more likely to be well-tolerated. How much safer would that be? Not to mention that it would take the pressure off of pain patients like me, and off my doctors, too. Plus, it would make it easier for drug treatment programs to use medications to wean people off heroin when they are ready. Legalize it!