EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Merrimack Valley

June 24, 2014

19-year-old dies from suspected heroin overdose

ANDOVER — A 19-year-old woman who lives on Stevens Street has reportedly become the town's first drug overdose victim this year, according to police and fire officials.

The girl was found in her room by family members on June 15 at about 10:30 a.m., Fire Chief Michael Mansfield said.

Firefighters were unable to administer Narcan — a nasal spray that revives heroin addicts — because she had been deceased for too long, he said.

"It was too late," Mansfield said, adding that it appears she died of an overdose from an opiate-based substance, most likely heroin.

"It's a tragedy," he said. "It's very sad. She had her whole life in front of her."

Police detectives were called to the scene, as were counselors from TIP, or Trauma Intervention Program, of Andover. The medical examiner was also called in.

Police spokesman Commander Charles Heseltine said while "it appears to be a drug overdose," the actual cause of death won't be known until after the medical examiner has filed a toxicology report.

He said the case remains under investigation. He refused to comment any further.

If it is confirmed as a drug overdose death, it would be the first in Andover this year. Last year, two young people died of heroin overdoses. A number of hospitalizations due to heroin and other opiate-based drugs were also reported.

Andover is not alone in battling the problem. Gov. Deval Patrick declared a statewide public emergency last January as a way to bring attention and funding to the war on opiates.

Last November, Andover held a public forum attended by hundreds of people to talk about the drug problem. Parents, police, youth workers and many young Andover residents spoke about the growing problem of not only drug use and abuse, but also depression, anxiety and the pressures of daily life.

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