Much has been written about the “scourge” of heroin, perhaps enough so that the general public thinks it is overhyped, or that it can’t possibly ever affect them.
But the warning signs have been cropping up throughout our region.
In Newburyport, Mayor Donna Holaday has called for a public meeting on Monday to talk about drug use in city parks and the discovery of needles used by heroin addicts.
In Amesbury, the discovery of a woman overdosing in the bathroom of a public park, next to a children’s playground, has sent a chilling messages to parents.
In Salisbury, public parking lots frequented by the public have been identified as prime locations for heroin dealing. Amesbury faces the same issue, and in Newburyport public “jewels” such as the Clipper City Rail Trail have been identified as locations where evidence of heroin use has been found.
Over the past few months, there has been a steady stream of stories in The Daily News about heroin-related incidents in local communities — Newburyport, Amesbury, Salisbury and Merrimac. But no story demonstrated the web of crime, desperation and rippling effects better than one that was published Monday.
Based on court documents available at Newburyport District Court, reporter Dave Rogers recounted the years-long string of crimes committed by a small number of local people involved in the heroin distribution business. What is most disturbing is the chaos and life-destroying saga born from heroin, and how young people become entangled in the web.
Amesbury police immediately reacted to the story. On their Facebook page, the Amesbury police noted the article “provides a few important reasons why the Amesbury police and other local agencies need your help in battling the heroin problem that has become endemic to our region. Loved ones have been lost to overdoses, families torn apart, children are put in danger on a daily basis, and drug-related crime runs rampant in our area.
“The article speaks of the inherent danger that this nefarious activity has brought to our area. In Amesbury, it describes an armed home invasion, where masked men, rival drug dealers, entered an apartment complex with handguns, pistol-whipped the drug dealer and stole money. It describes a young pregnant woman selling drugs in an apartment littered with used needles and drug addicts. Other articles posted in the past have shown large-scale incidents of theft, overdoses, fights, and public drug use.”
Police and public officials have been vigilant in getting their message across to the public: Heroin is here, perhaps below the radar screen of most of us, but its ripple effects of crime, drug addiction, chaos and death are real and spreading.
Police have asked that citizens help them to combat it. We should do our part by reporting suspicious activity to police, warning children —- and young adults, for that matter — about the dangers of addictive drugs, locking our cars to prevent drug-related thefts and being educated about the warning signs of drug use.