Massachusetts state police say 185 people have died of heroin overdoses during the last four months, but that does not include fatal overdoses in the state’s three largest cities.
“We firmly believe that it is a problem that cannot be solved solely by arrests, although street enforcement is vital,” state police spokesperson David Procopio said in an email. “Treatment and public education components are equally essential.”
The overdoses were largely concentrated in southeastern Massachusetts, western Massachusetts, the Merrimack Valley and Middlesex County. The number does not include overdoses in Boston, Springfield and Worcester because local police handle their own death investigations in those cities and state police do not track those cases.
A spokesperson for the Springfield police did not immediately answer a request for the city’s overdose numbers.
State police were unable to provide a comparison for the same time period a year ago because they put a new tracking system in place late last year. But they said heroin overdoses have definitely increased in the state recently due to several factors, including suppliers cutting heroin with a Fentanyl, a synthetic substance that increases the drug’s toxicity.
New England Public Radio’s Sam Hudzik contributed to this report.