WBUR

Taunton Leaders Hold Forum To Combat Heroin Spike

TAUNTON, Mass. — The southeastern Massachusetts city of Taunton is trying to combat a recent spike in heroin overdoses.

City leaders and law enforcement officials held a community forum on Monday night to discuss what might be done including prevention, treatment and stricter enforcement.

Taunton Police Chief Ed Walsh said earlier that there have been 64 overdoses, five fatal, since early January. The number of overdoses has increased by at least two – bringing the total to 66 – as of Tuesday morning, according to police officials.

Bristol County District Attorney Sam Sutter said overdoses and admissions to treatment centers have nearly doubled since 2007. He said addiction to prescription painkillers, and the low cost and accessibility of heroin is at the core of the epidemic.

Parents of heroin users said more treatment for addicts would help. A mother whose son died of an overdose called for tougher prosecution of drug dealers who knowingly sell a dangerous mix of heroin and the synthetic opiate painkiller fentanyl.

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