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Heroin: A Deadly Problem in Watertown

An increase in heroin overdoses has been seen in town, including two deaths over the past two weeks.

A recent spike in heroin overdoses, including two deaths, has Watertown Police concerned.

Heroin use is not new in town, but the number of overdoses seen over the past two weeks is high, said Watertown Police Lt. Michael Lawn.

“Over the past two weeks we have seen five overdoses. Two resulted in death,” Lawn said.

Both were Watertown residents in their early 40s, Lawn said.

“We are investigating to figure out if the (overdoses) were from the same batch of heroin,” Lawn said, noting that they are being assisted by the State Police.

He added that the dead body found by the Charles River last week was not a heroin related death.

The high number of heroin overdoses and those from other opioids has been seen across Massachusetts, according to a study by reseachers at Boston University.

“The rate of opioid overdose continues to rise and is a major cause of preventable death. Opioid related overdose deaths have exceeded the number of motor vehicle deaths each year since 2005 in Massachusetts and are the leading cause of injury death in the commonwealth,” according to a summary of the study.

While heroin use has been seen in town for years, Lawn said the amount of use has police and others concerned.

“It is becoming a problem,” Lawn said. “It has been going on for the last few years, and it is increasing in Watertown.”

A study of Watertown High School students done by the Watertown Youth Coaltion found that the use of heroin is higher than the state average.

Police find that many heroin users first got hooked on prescription opiods, such as Percocet and other pain relievers.

“It has become a lot harder to get (prescription opiods) and a lot more expensive, so people turn to heroin. It’s a lot cheaper,” Lawn said.

The increased use of heroin and prescriptions opoids may factor in the increase in home robberies in Watertown. Lawn said addicts will steal items to sell, sometimes from their own family.

“It’s a vicious cycle,” he said.

Edie B. April 10, 2013 at 05:27 PM
Thank you for finally writing about this! I have been hearing about these overdoses for over a week, but the Tab and (until now) Patch have been mum on the subject. I would love to learn more about heroin use at WHS and what is being done about it.
bostonrob April 10, 2013 at 06:59 PM
I bet it hadnt been reported on because the deaths were being investigated. I guess nosy people can't wait to hear about these sad events.
danielle April 10, 2013 at 07:15 PM
I've known there's been a problem with all drugs mention since 2011. It's sad, even heart breaking that its now in the high schools. I know the police are trying to stop this. But I will say the teens parents need to WAKE UP! All the signs that your child is using drugs are their. Get them help!
Dawn L April 10, 2013 at 07:44 PM
I agree with you. Especially because one of the deaths was a friend of mine. It is so so sad.
Joe April 11, 2013 at 03:07 PM
Easy to say when one's on the outside looking in. The signs aren't always as obvious. I'm going to assume you don't have kids. Let's hope the war on drugs improves.
Jehanne d'arc April 11, 2013 at 11:41 PM
why don't you get them help danielle why is it someone else's job to do that? where did the teens get the drugs? duh so you are demanding drug addicts report their drug addict children? ok will see how that goes.yes. j

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