One hundred twenty-three — that's the number of heroin overdoses the city of Taunton has seen since the beginning of this year. Seven of those have been fatal, adding to the 178 fatal overdoses that have occurred statewide in the past three months. The Taunton Police Department, in particular, has gone from receiving an estimated two to five overdose calls per week in 2013, to receiving about one or two per day in the early months of 2014.
We spoke to someone who knows the challenges Taunton is facing all too well — the city's mayor, Tom Hoye.
Tom Hoye, mayor of Taunton.
- "The drumbeat of overdoses, day after day, week after week, is exacting a psychic and physical toll on this old mill city of 56,000 people, where high-tech businesses seek to replace the past prosperity of silversmithing, iron works, and textile manufacturing. 'We don’t want to be seen as the heroin capital,' said Jennifer Bastille, a program adviser for the city’s Safe Neighborhood Initiative. But that view of Taunton has taken hold in a state in which heroin overdoses, including more than 185 deaths in less than three months, have become a public-health crisis from Cape Cod to the Berkshires."
- "After a rash of drug overdoses in the state, Massachusetts U.S. Sen. Ed Markey was in Taunton Monday to outline his goals for combating drug addiction here and across the country."
This segment aired on March 20, 2014.