EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

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February 14, 2014

Police: Drugs may be cause of woman's death

Police: Heroin may be to blame

(Continued)

The third victim was revived. No charges have been filed in that case.

Patten said yesterday it was too soon to say whether there would be charges related to the woman’s death.

She was alone in the motel room when emergency responders found her, he said.

But several people who responded to the scene early yesterday have been questioned, he said, and the case is active.

He couldn’t say when toxicology reports would be available because it depends on the backlog at the state laboratory.

The number of drug overdoses in Salem continues to climb, mirroring what’s happening around the region and the rest of the country. In 2011, Salem saw 18 drug overdoses, 19 a year later and 25 overdoses in 2013.

But the problem extends well beyond Salem. Portsmouth police last month issued a warning to heroin users there about especially potent or tainted drugs. That was after three people overdosed, one of whom died.

In response to the threat, police from the Merrimack Valley, Massachusetts state troopers and an FBI agent joined forces last week in an effort to get as much of the drug as they could off the streets.

Police arrested 30 people in Lawrence, Methuen and Haverhill. Those arrested were from Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Maine.

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