Opiate Epidemic in Massachuesetts

Heroin use has become epidemic in the state of Massachusetts. In the past year, there’s been a significant spike in the number of heroin overdoses in the state, reaching 185 reported deaths between November 2013 and February 26, 2014. 

Reacting to this alarming statistic, Governor Deval Patrick declared a public health emergency. “We have an epidemic of opiate abuse in Massachusetts, so we will treat it like the public health crisis it is,” 

Because of the governor’s declaration, health care professionals can now carry the opiate antidote naloxone, with which they can rescue many people who have overdosed. Naloxone is also being made available to families of individuals who are using or addicted to heroin. 

Heroin use has been spreading across America the past several years and is taking a terrible toll on cities, states, families and individuals. The governor’s actions contribute to solving this problem. 

Part of fighting the problem is getting educated on the signs of use. Here’s some information you can use. 

The drug comes in two forms, a sticky black substance called ”black tar” heroin and a lighter powder. Here are pictures of these two forms. 


Powder Heroin Tan and White

Black tar heroin

Black Tar Heroin

The drug is often sold in tiny resealable bags, small pieces of aluminum foil or a balloon. The drug is extremely addictive and some people will become addicted after just one use. 

If you are concerned that someone you know is using heroin, look out for the following symptoms.

  • Tiny pupils
  • Nodding off or drowsy
  • Slowed breathing
  • Flushed skin
  • Runny or itchy nose
  • Vomiting
  • Scratching
  • Needle marks
  • Neglect of grooming

We offer free educational materials on the signs of drug abuse and can help if you find these substances or signs of heroin use within your household. Please contact us to learn about our unique drug rehab program.