NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

Opinion

February 13, 2014

Editorial: Killer heroin crackdown could save lives

As if an addiction to heroin weren’t life-threatening enough, now the streets are flooded with a version of the drug mixed with a powerful narcotic, making a particularly deadly combination.

Deaths from heroin overdose are increasing nationwide, law enforcement officials say. And the prime suspect is heroin that has been laced with fentanyl, a powerful synthetic pain-killer introduced in the 1960s. The combination has a number of street names including “Ace of Spades,” “Ace of Hearts,” “Theraflu,” “Bud Ice” and “24K.”

Local police departments, with assistance from state police and the FBI, are cracking down on this deadly trade. Last week, Methuen, Lawrence, Andover, North Andover, Haverhill and Salem, N.H., police, along with state police and the Essex County Sheriff’s department, conducted an operation against heroin sales that resulted in 33 arrests in Lawrence, Methuen and Haverhill. Many of those charged come from Lawrence and Methuen. But others were from as far away as Somerville and Medford, Pelham and North Conway, N.H., and Fryeburg, Maine, according to police.

An Eagle-Tribune reporter and photographer accompanied police on some of the arrests. The picture that emerges of the heroin trade is not a pretty one.

One young mother drove her Toyota into a gas station on the Lawrence-Methuen line. Hypodermic needs were strewn across the passenger seat. Her 6-month-old child was in a carrier in the back seat.

At a local fast-food restaurant, five people sitting in two separate cars were observed using heroin.

Drug buys were witnessed in two residential neighborhoods in Lawrence.

Sales often take place in shopping plazas, typically those with easy access to major highways. Some businesses have been forced to close their restrooms as addicts use them to shoot up.

Local police chiefs met in Andover late in January to discuss the growing heroin problem. They opted for a tactic known as “displacement,” a high-intensity enforcement effort aimed at slowing heroin sales and possibly averting overdoses.

Text Only | Photo Reprints

NDN Video
LeBron James -- Dropped $2k On Cupcake Apology ... Proceeds To Benefit Charity Snoop Dogg Says He Smoked Weed at the White House Raw: Fight Breaks Out in Ukraine Parliament Chris Pratt Interrupts Interview To French Braid Intern's Hair Shirtless Super Mario Balotelli Dances While Ironing - @TheBuzzeronFOX Whoa! Watch "Housewives" Star Do the Unthinkable LeBron apologizes to neighbors with cupcakes Justin Bieber In Calvin Klein Underwear Shoot Samsung Pre-Trolls The IPhone 6 With New Ad Jimmy Kimmel Introduces His Baby Girl Swim Daily, Nina Agdal in the Cook Islands Guilty Dog Apologizes to Baby for Stealing Her Toy Prince George Turns 1 and is Already a Trendsetter Train Collides With Semi Truck Carrying Lighter Fluid Kanye West Tells-All on Wedding in "GQ" Interview Tony Dungy Weighs in on Michael Sam Scarlett Johansson Set To Marry In August New Star Wars Episode XII X-Wing Revealed Obama: Putin must push separatists to aid MH17 probe Michigan inmates no longer allowed to wear orange due to 'OITNB'
Special Features
NRA Waterfront Plans