Heroin Hits Hudson Hard

July 17, 2015

 

Naloxone (Narcan) is now a staple supply of the HFD ambulance.  After its use on a heroin overdose, the ambulance will be required to restock the item from the area hospital so that the ambulance is fully supplied for the next overdose.  This procedure will take that ambulance out of service for up to an hour.

Naloxone (Narcan) is now a staple supply of the HFD ambulance. After its use on a heroin overdose, the ambulance will be required to restock the item from the area hospital so that the ambulance is fully supplied for the next overdose. This procedure will take that ambulance out of service for up to an hour.

by Doug Robinson

Hudson has a heroin problem, and that thought is universal to every first-responding professional interviewed in town.  Some call the Hudson heroin problem an “epidemic.”

“The cost of Hudson’s heroin problem is what the trickle-down effect heroin use has on others in the community,” commented Hudson Police Chief Jason Lavoie.  “Heroin addicts steal to support their addictions.  They steal from our neighbors, our families, our wives, our children and our businesses.  Their addiction is so overpowering, they cannot stop without an intervention.  They increase our medical premiums and they add a huge cost to our medical facilities.”

During the first six months of 2015, Hudson Police have had 89 felony arrests for drug-related crimes.  These arrests do not include those arrests that occurred in partnerships with other communities.

The Hudson Fire Department has to inject the lifesaving drug Narcan (Naloxone) into individuals who have overdosed on heroin.  In addition, the Hudson Fire Department has responded to an additional 57 calls for drug overdose due to misuse of drugs (intentional) and other unknown reasons.

Statistics released from the HFD show that Hudson is trending to an 8-10 percent increase in call for service for drug-related calls.  In 2014, HFD responded to 73 overdoses for the entire year.

“Heroin is cheap,” said Detective Sergeant Jason Lucontoni.  “In the past, cocaine, crack, and prescription drugs were the drugs of choice.  But, with heroin being a fraction of the cost of those drugs, heroin has now become readily available and often used.”

Unfortunately, there seems to be no typical heroin user.  “Another problem we have is that those who use heroin are faceless.  You ask who would take heroin, well, the answer is that there is no class distinction, no race, no profile which would identify that individual,” explained Hudson Deputy Fire Chief Scott Tice.  “Heroin isn’t for just a specific rich or poor person, doctor, lawyer.  Heroin is being seen in all walks of life.  The image that heroin use is only used by a homeless person (with) long scruffy hair, and a rolled-up sleeping bag is incorrect.”

HPD Officer Lucontoni recalled the story when he served on the NH Drug Task Force as an undercover cop.  He recalled a conversation with his CI, confidential informant, while they were waiting for the drug dealer to show up.  “We were sitting in the car together.  I asked him how he got hooked on heroin.  He said that he used to own his own construction company and then go hurt on the job.  His doctor had prescribed for him a bunch of prescription drugs, of which, he got hooked.  He kept going back to his doctor for more pills until his doctor shut him off.  He then turned to stealing from his wife, his 401K, his company, his kids, and he started to steal on the streets.  When he found out heroin was cheaper than pills, he tried it, and never went back.  He couldn’t.  He was hooked.”

Heroin is derived from opium.  Hudson Police comment that much of the heroin sold today comes from Russia.

Heroin is not sold in pure form.  Those who sell heroin lace the product with other products to increase the yield to receive greater profits.  The main product added is Fentanyl.  Fentanyl is the drug which creates the “high” that users of heroin experience.

Now, here is the problem.  Heroin does not have a secret for success recipe.  Those who purchase heroin believe that they will again and again receive the same high they experienced the first time.  “They continue to take the drug in an effort to achieve the same high,” continued Tice.  “It never happens and eventually, as the doses increase, so do the overdoses and deaths.”

Today, heroin has a new monster batch of death drug.  The heroin is called “krokodil” heroin.  It is also known as the flesh-eating, zombie drug.

CNN recently ran a story about “krokodil” heroin.  The drug is a “cheap knock-off” states CNN “and gaining in popularity across the country.”  Manchester has already had one case reported of this drug’s use.

The heroin is called Krokodil because after taking the heroin the human skin turns green and scaly, much like the look of a crocodile.  The human flesh is eaten away to the bone as a result of that which is in, or laced, into the heroin.  “It will kill you from the inside out.  If you want to die, this will make you die” reports CNN

Krokodil is appealing to the heroin addict for several reasons.  It is cheap, about one third the price of heroin, and is easy to make.  Ingredients such as lighter fluid, gasoline, and paint thinner are added to give the heroin a better high.  Miguel Razo of the Illinois Poison Control Center stated that it is “10 times more potent than morphine.”

Those who purchase heroin have no idea as to what has been mixed with the heroin, hence, heroin users continue to experiment, and continue to overdose.  To the addict, their “fix” is cheap.

So how does this quiet, family-valued, friendly bedroom community deal with this healthcare disaster that is and will be placing larger economic strains on the town?

“We need to educate, educate, and when we are done, educate some more,” stated HFD Chief Buxton.  “We need everyone’s involvement from police to fire, to families, to our schools to create an awareness and an understanding of the total costs to every individual in the Town of Hudson, as well as our surrounding areas to the cost of our humanity with Hudson’s heroin drug epidemic,” commented HPD Chief Jason Lavoie.

“One major problem, in addition to the economic aspect of what heroin use causes the community, is the out-of-service time for our emergency vehicles,” stated Hudson Fire Chief Robert Buxton.

Deputy Fire Chief Scott Tice has created a relationship with the Nashua Public Health Coalition and the regional health officer for the purpose of educating those who live in our community.  A few months ago, a seminar was held at Alvirne to educate parents, students, and other citizens to the drugs which are in our area.

Detective Lucontoni participate with a diverse team of professionals, including drug counselors, a court judge, defense lawyers, and prosecutors helping addicts get their lives back.  “This is a new program and so far, it is working.  We are working directly, one on one, with past heroin users, who wish for a life change.”

NH Governor Massie Hassan recently signed HB 270 which “grants immunity from arrest, prosecution, or conviction to a person who request medical assistance to save the life of an overdose victim.  The rising rate of heroin and opioid overdoses is one of the most pressing public health and safety challenges facing our state, requiring a multi-pronged approach of prevention, treatment, and recovery to address.”

“I remember coming moving to Hudson many years ago,” continued Chief Buxton.  “We are a small town, compared to the big cities.  But, like the big cities, we too have our problems.  Heroin is a concern.  Heroin does not discriminate.  Young, old, boy, girl, neighbor, friend.  It does not care.  It does not have a face.  There are no stereotypes.”