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Low cost and big demand causes spike in heroin use

February 9, 2014

PAWTUCKET — The news about a rise in heroin overdoses in Rhode Island, coupled with the national coverage of the apparent heroin-related death of actor Phillip Seymour Hoffman, has thrust the centuries-old opioid in the spotlight. Yet, while it’s acknowledged by police and medical professionals that a “bad batch” of heroin is making the rounds — one that is laced with the powerful synthetic drug fentanyl — the problem of a seeming resurgence of the hippie-era drug is complex and delves into areas of accessibility and affordability.

Just this week, the Rhode Island Department of Health reported that that there were 27 overdose deaths in the state in January, and two reported so far in February. In 15 of the 23 cases, the heroin contained fentanyl, which made it a stronger blend. People are using their accustomed amount and suffering accidental overdoses.

Full story appears on page A1 of Monday's Times and Monday's Call.


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