Thursday, July 18, 2013

Heroin is Here

How did it get here?

"Teenagers can become addicted to prescription drugs and then move on to much cheaper heroin.... Rice followed a path to addiction that police say is typical of the rural epidemic: He started with opiate pills. When he was 16, a friend offered him stolen tablets of the prescription painkiller.... Most of Potee’s patients start with prescription painkillers in the opiate family, such as oxycodone. Within about six months they move onto heroin, which is cheaper and easier to get."

And yet this state has been all bunged up over medical marijuana


"Towns try to stop wave of heroin overdoses" by Javier Panzar |  Globe Correspondent, July 18, 2013

STOUGHTON — Since the start of July, three people in this town south of Boston have died after taking too much heroin or other opiates. Nine more have suffered overdoses but survived. No one can say — so far — why the batch of drugs on the streets here is proving so lethal.

And it is not just Stoughton. In Brockton and Yarmouth, spring and summer have brought a wave of overdoses blamed on heroin, a cheap, powerfully addictive drug that is widely available in the Northeast....

A mystery. 

No it isn't. Government agencies are the biggest drug runners out there, and banks depend on that money needing to be laundered to boost profits. Of course, don't expect that from ma$$ media mouthpiece .

But there are theories: Maybe....

Or, maybe....

How insulting!

Fatal overdoses from heroin and other opiates have increased.... 

So WHO POISONED the HEROIN, huh? Just another way to get rid of useless eaters?

Fatal overdoses tend to emerge in pockets as particular batches infiltrate a market, said Hillary Dubois, coordinator of the Brockton mayor’s Opioid Overdose Prevention Coalition.

“Fatal overdoses never happen in a vacuum,” she said. “If you see one, you will see a lot.”

She said that it will take weeks, if not months, to determine what is behind the recent spike of overdoses.

Why? Since the NSA is spying on the whole planet and capturing all communications, how can they not figure this out?

Though police and fire departments have records of their responses to overdoses, that may not provide a complete picture, Dubois said. Many overdoses, both those that cause death and those that do not, go unreported because drug users do not call 911 or because it is not immediately clear the cause of death is a drug overdose.

Dr. Joseph Shrand, the medical director of an intervention unit for at-risk teens at High Point Treatment Center in Brockton, said fatal drug overdoses have been increasing up and down the East Coast in recent months.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a health advisory June 20 warning public health departments to be alert for acetyl fentanyl, an injected synthetic opioid that is up to five times more potent than heroin. The advisory said 14 people in Rhode Island have died from overdoses of the drug since March 6.

“It’s really scary stuff,” he said. “We know something is going on in the East Coast.”

Stoughton is a mostly quiet town, Devine said, noting the city has had only three homicides in the last 11 years. Still, most crime, including robberies and car thefts, stems from substance abuse, he said.


Most years, Stoughton records two or three deaths linked to heroin or other opiates. That is what makes the three overdose deaths so far this month so striking.

An aggressive education and prevention campaign in Stoughton endeavors to prevent teens from getting hooked, said Stephanie Patton, the prevention coordinator for Organizing Against Substances in Stoughton, a group supported by federal antidrug grants.

In the last two years, the number of high school students who say they have used prescription drugs to get high has fallen from 8 percent to 3 percent, according to a survey conducted by Patton’s group.

Teenagers can become addicted to prescription drugs such as OxyContin, Patton said, thinking they are not dangerous and then move on to much cheaper heroin.

The epidemic of heroin use has spread across the region with tremendous speed, said Joanne Peterson, founder and executive director of Learn to Cope, a statewide nonprofit that organizes support groups for families who have relatives coping with heroin and other addictions.... 

Shut down, NSA, c'mon.


And just a bit too close to home:

"Heroin abuse problems plague rural Mass. towns; As the drug takes hold in small communities, treatment options remain scarce" by Karen D. Brown |  Globe Correspondent,  July 01, 2013

Lance Rice started his last day in Franklin County on a scarred, wooden bench in the Greenfield courthouse. He was waiting for his probation officer to call him in for his third drug screening of the week.

“At this point, I hate coming here. I’m here all the time,” said Rice. “But today will be the last time I’m here for a long time.”

A friend sitting nearby glared at him; Rice corrected himself.

“I plan to never be here again.”

Four months earlier, Rice, 23, was led down this hallway in handcuffs and shackles through a gauntlet of spectators from Turners Falls. The picturesque former milltown of 4,500 people, nestled in the Berkshire foothills, had been racked by a string of burglaries over the past year, and Rice was a prime suspect.

Right next door, folks.

Rice is both a victim and perpetrator of what police are calling a heroin epidemic in rural Western Massachusetts. 

The paper showing compassion for a thieving heroin addict? WTF?

Narcotics investigators say that in the past three to five years they have watched the drug move from big cities to small towns, where their Main Streets have been hit by a wave of crime.

Yeah, it's the heroin and cocaine, not the pot. 

And this really is going to make the case for LEGALIZATION!

Rice had been caught on security camera breaking into a downtown bike shop. He was later caught breaking into a home, carrying an iPod Touch and prescription pills that were missing from another house.

Not to be unmerciful or unsympathetic by any stretch, but you come here you will be lucky to be living after I'm done with you. My property is to be defended, for it is all I have left.

He had been facing 10 years in jail, but he pleaded guilty in drug court and spent only 200 days behind bars. His sentence includes a nine-month drug rehab program and 18 months of probation.

I'm all for clearing drug addicts and criminals out of the prisons. Put the violent, the perverts, the looters, and war criminals in there instead.

On this day, his last before moving to New Bedford for rehab, Rice had a busy schedule. Get through the drug screening. Thank his probation officer. Say goodbye to friends and family. And go meet Nina Rossi.

Nina Rossi is an artist and shopowner in Turners Falls who had asked to meet Rice. It was her iPod and pills that he stole.

“She was one my victims, as you could call it,” said Rice, who was wearing in a white T-shirt, gold chain, faux-diamond earrings, and the same red baseball cap he’d worn the night he’d burglarized Rossi’s house. “I look forward to meeting her and apologizing, because I just wasn’t myself.”

Okay, I'm sure this is a great story about reconciliation and all. Let's all embrace the thieves and drug addicts for I'm sure they mean well.

Rice followed a path to addiction that police say is typical of the rural epidemic: He started with opiate pills. When he was 16, a friend offered him stolen tablets of the prescription painkiller Percocet. At the time, he said, his father was in prison, and his mother’s new boyfriend was abusive. His troubles, he said, “all go away when you’re high.”

As Rice’s tolerance increased, he could spend up to $300 a day on pills. By the time he graduated from high school, he said, “I wanted something cheaper, I wanted something to get me higher. And a friend of mine introduced me to a bag of heroin. After that, it was all downhill.”

Something must be wrong because I can't imagine that kind of habit.  Tried a little toot, smoked a little weed as a younger man and did not much care for them.  Alcoholic, so that's out. 

Rice and his friends would drive 45 minutes to Holyoke and Springfield, where heroin is cheap – $5 to $10 a bag – and easy to find. They would bring the drug north via what many in law enforcement refer to as the I-91 “drug corridor.” Back in their small town, they could resell heroin for more money and fund their own habits.

Yeah, I f***ed up. Never got into drug dealing.

Although exact numbers are hard to come by, Franklin County Sheriff Chris Donelan says rural heroin use has spiked since 2010 – so much so that in April 2013, the Northwest District Attorney’s Office launched a regional narcotics task force. In its first two months, police made 15 arrests. Donelan says police are focused on stemming heroin distribution, as well as the related theft that has stunned quiet towns like Turners Falls. 

He's a good man. Was state rep until he was so disgusted he quit to go back to sheriffing. Called his office once and he answered the phone. Was a little surprised by it.

Rice said he began stealing after he got fired from his restaurant job.

No wonder the owners want illegals.

“I was with a friend and I think we must have been very desperate and very sick,” he said. “When you’re in that state of mind, you come up with the quickest way you can feel better. If we saw the opportunity, we would go for it.”

By last fall, almost every downtown business in Turners Falls had been hit, followed by a few homes. Community members worried the crime spree – perpetrated by Rice and several others — was threatening Turners Falls’ delicate reputation as an up-and-coming arts town. One upscale restaurant closed for good after a break-in.

Yeah, keep your gun.

In September 2012, Rice was arrested for three burglaries – including at Nina Rossi’s house. When he got out of jail in April — a month before his rehab program was to start — he resolved to stay sober with help from court-mandated AA meetings, a strict probation officer, and random drug screenings.

By then, Rice’s dazed mugshot was staple of the local paper, The Montague Reporter, and he sensed anger and suspicion from people who recognized him on the street. “I don’t blame people for reacting how they did,” he said. When the newspaper’s editor offered Rice a guest column to write his side of the story, he accepted.

How many of you heroin addicts get that chance, huh?

Over two issues, Rice explained his transformation from “a talented, smart, young man” into a self-loathing addict he didn’t recognize, “caught up in a vicious cycle I could not stop.” He described nearly dying from a drug-overdose and the nightmarish cycles of “dope sickness” including cold sweats, nausea, and the feeling of bugs crawling under his skin. He admitted to stealing, but asked for the town’s compassion.

“Addiction is a disease,” he wrote. “We are people just as you, who need help. So I ask, before you jump to a conclusion, remember this could happen to you.’

You know who needs an intervention? The MONEY ADDICTS that POPULATE the POLITICAL and ECONOMIC ELITE of this country! 

And no, this isn't going to happen to me. I'm too old now (slight regrets looking back now at missed chances for fun).

When Nina Rossi picked up a copy of the paper, she related to Rice’s story.

Rossi began drinking heavily when she was 15, and like Rice, stole to maintain her habit. She would take vintage clothes from storage units and resell them. She hitchhiked at night so she could get invited into strangers’ homes and raid their medicine cabinets. “I was a mess,” she said. “Maybe it would’ve made a difference for me if someone had broken into my life and said ‘I care.’”

Rossi got sober in 1998. Now 53, she has a family and a job building wheelchairs for injured pets. She also owns a downtown Turners Falls shop – Nina’s Nook — where she sells her own and other’s art.

Yeah, arts are the answer to the rotten economy. Pfft! 

Stop pu$hing the elitist agenda at every turn, Globe!

The day Rice burglarized her house, Rossi said, she felt violated, knowing he had rifled through her personal things. But a month after police returned her iPod, she discovered a photo that Rice had taken of himself.

Yes, it feels personal. It IS personal!

“He was in this haze,” Rossi said, describing the quality of the picture, and the vacant look in Rice’s eyes. “It creeped me out, and then it just kind of grew on me. I had a sense there was something good there.”

I know there is good in you. The Emperor hasn't driven it from you fully.

Rossi began to follow Rice’s case with more empathy than anger.

Look, I agree, and I can hear you saying the blog is full of anger. Well, yeah, it is full of anger because I've been typing the same damn things for seven years as things keep getting worse and going in the opposite direction. 

I want to know where the empathy is for all the victims of EUSraeli Empire around the globe.

She sat quietly in the courthouse hallway the day he was led by in handcuffs. And after Rice’s story ran in the Montague Reporter, she asked the editor for his e-mail address and sent him a message.

“Although I was really pissed about all the damage you were doing it was obvious to me that you were not malicious or criminal, only addicted,” she wrote. “I looked at your face many times in the picture you took of yourself on my ipod . . . Honestly, I have wept for you since I sensed in your face you have a tender soul despite whatever you did.”

Somehow that excuse the behavior?

She asked him to visit her at her shop before he left for rehab. Come at 4 p.m., she wrote, before it gets crowded.

He immediately accepted, and made plans to meet her the day before he left for rehab in New Bedford.

Rice considers the move out of Turners Falls a chance to start over. “It is a small town and I kind of made a name for myself here,” he said. “I really don’t think after everything that happened that I have a real good chance out here to do the things I want to do.”

Eventually, he wants to move to Boston or Cape Cod to become a counselor for substance abusers.

You have been warned.

But first things first.

At 4 p.m., Lance smoothed his hair, put on his red baseball cap, and ambled down the main street. Lighting a cigarette, he stopped just before he got to Nina’s Nook. He’d been passing the store for months, but never realized it belonged to the woman whose house he’d broken into to.

The kid smokes?

“You know, it’s a little nerve wracking,” he said. “But I’m facing everything now.”

He put out his cigarette on the sidewalk, and knocked on her door.

Afterward, Rice called their meeting “amazing” and supportive. Rossi said it eased her mind.

Rossi said they hugged several times. She wished him strength in his recovery and gave him a pebble from her shop with a heart painted on it. He took it with him the next morning to rehab, and promised to stay in touch. 

I won't be.


"Help for addicts hard to come by in Western Mass." by Karen D. Brown |  Globe Correspondent, July 01, 2013

Over the last two to three years, police and healthcare providers say they’ve watched a heroin epidemic take hold in rural, economically depressed areas of Western Massachusetts. Franklin County has been hit particularly hard.

Related: Welcome to My World

“People’s lives are destroyed. If they were on track for school or college, that’s long gone,” said Ruth Potee, a primary care doctor in Greenfield who estimates at least 10 percent of her patients are addicted to heroin. “You read the obituaries in any of the local papers, and if you’ve got a person dying under the age of 40, [the majority] are overdoses.”

Most of Potee’s patients start with prescription painkillers in the opiate family, such as oxycodone. Within about six months they move onto heroin, which is cheaper and easier to get. “If you’re 19, you can’t walk into a liquor store and get a six pack of beer,” she said. “But you can walk down the street in most neighborhoods, in most of our Western Massachusetts counties, and get heroin.”

Heroin today is more potent than it used to be. “It’s so incredibly pure. People describe the delicious high that you get unlike any previous drug available,” Potee said. “It’s very different from the heroin we had in the ’60s, ’70s, and ’80s.”

But Potee says there aren’t nearly enough doctors prepared to treat addiction in Western Massachusetts, compared with the Boston area. She is one of two general practitioners in Franklin County with a license to prescribe the anti-addiction drug buprenorphine (tradename Suboxone) an FDA-approved medication that, like methadone, blocks the opiate receptors in the brain and helps suppress cravings and withdrawal symptoms. Some nonprofit treatment centers also dispense Suboxone, including CleanSlate – which sees approximately 500 addicted patients in its Greenfield location.

Potee estimates that Suboxone has a 70 percent success rate in treating addiction. This fall she plans to start treating addicts in the North Quabbin region, which includes Athol, Orange, Salem, and Wendell, where she knows of no Suboxone-licensed physician.

But Suboxone only works for those ready to get better, Potee said.

True of anything. 

Some addicts only get to that point after going to jail. Others need two or three stints in rehab before they develop the resolve to quit. Meanwhile, she continues to see patients in her primary care practice who are addicted but refuse any treatment. Three of them died of overdoses last year.


Does heroin make you hungry because it's lunchtime here.

Related(?): Time For Buffett

I guess when you are giving away tax loot to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars a year it is difficult to fund a drug treatment center.

"I-84 arrest in Sturbridge yields $41,000 worth of drugs; second major bust in one day

A New York man is facing charges after more than $41,000 worth of drugs including cocaine, heroin, and Percocet was seized from his car following a traffic stop Tuesday night, State Police said. Carlos Vargas, 35, was arrested on Interstate 84 at 9:50 p.m. after speeding and marked lane violations, police said. It was the second major drug bust on Tuesday resulting from a traffic stop on I-84 in Sturbridge. Early that morning, State Police arrested three men and seized a kilogram of cocaine and more than $28,000 in cash after stopping a livery van for allegedly speeding."

RelatedGetting Up to Change Baby

Where the hell is the stuff coming from?

Also see: 

Cory Monteith died of heroin and alcohol overdose
Sunday Globe Special: The New York Times Smokes Opium
Sunday Globe Shot of Heroin
The Death of Monica DeMello 

That was a one-day wonder if I ever saw one.

I will be updating this post periodically with other heroin finds as I begin the great Boston Globe throwaway.