EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Merrimack Valley

August 30, 2013

Police: heroin use on the rise

Amesbury park restroom incident part of a growing problem

AMESBURY — It’s a situation that may seem unthinkable — you enter a public restroom by yourself or with a small child and almost trip over a person sprawled out on the floor overdosing on heroin.

Such was the case Monday afternoon when a local mother walked into an Amesbury Town Park bathroom and found a 40-year-old woman on the floor in distress, an encounter that elicited strong reaction and shock from other families at the park. The victim, also from Amesbury, was revived by local firefighters and transported to an area hospital, where she remained yesterday.

Amesbury Deputy Fire Chief David Mather said he didn’t know of the specifics regarding Monday’s ambulance call, but in general terms emergency responders will administer Narcan, also known as naloxone, to treat opiate or heroin overdoses. Mather called narcan very effective in reversing the effects of a heroin or opiate overdose.

What happened Monday is by no means an isolated incident in Amesbury, according to police, who have noticed a dramatic uptick in recent years in the number of addicts shooting up in public places. Be it restaurant or gas station bathrooms, inside parked cars or town parks, addicts don’t wait until they are in a private place. The urge becomes so overpowering, they’ll shoot up as soon as they have purchased their fix.

Days before Monday’s incident, police received a call from a local gas station that someone had been in one of their bathrooms for about an hour. When police arrived, they discovered a person had been getting high in there.

“That happens all the time,” Amesbury police Lt. Kevin Donovan said.

“It’s has gotten to the point where it’s affecting the quality of life in the city,” Crime Prevention officer Thomas Hanshaw said. “We’re seeing overdoses left and right, but we’re also seeing the crimes related to that.”

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