By Maria Papadopoulos, The Enterprise
BROCKTON, Mass. — A fatal heroin overdose reported in Brockton is the city’s seventh in the past 17 days.
The 30-year-old Cohasset man lay unresponsive inside the room of the Westgate Hotel and Conference Center on Monday morning.
Wicked Local reported that police said a friend of his called 911 about 9:30 a.m. to report that the man wasn’t breathing – but it was too late.
When emergency crews arrived, they found the man dead with drug paraphernalia nearby, authorities said.
If authorities confirm heroin use as a cause in Monday’s death, the man would become the seventh person to die of a suspected heroin overdose in Brockton in 17 days.
Additionally, police and fire officials are eyeing heroin overdoses in deaths in several other communities recently, including:
In Taunton on Friday, a 46-year-old man was found dead of a suspected heroin overdose at a Kilmer Avenue home, marking the seventh suspected fatal heroin overdose of 2014 in that city.
In Avon on Thursday, a 28-year-old man was found dead of a suspected heroin overdose on Nichols Avenue.
In Stoughton on Feb. 16, a 29-year-old man died of a suspected heroin overdose in an apartment on Buckley Road.
In Whitman on Jan. 31, a 39-year-old man died of a suspected heroin overdose on Beulah Street.
The calls for reported heroin overdoses have become so frequent, and the deaths so familiar, that several police departments are training their officers on how to administer the chemical spray Narcan to reverse the potentially deadly effects of a heroin overdose.
Brockton officers are receiving Narcan training this week.
“It’s a nightmare that has to end,” Brockton Police Chief Robert Hayden said Monday. “This bad batch is killing people. Prevention is the part of the answer, trying to educate people to never, never get in that boat (of drug use).”
Officers in Stoughton and Quincy are already trained in the life-saving procedure.
And Whitman, Bridgewater and West Bridgewater are looking into training their police officers on how to administer Narcan, a brand name of the drug naloxone, as well.
“It’s been epidemic,” Whitman Deputy Police Chief Timothy Hanlon said of calls reporting heroin overdoses Monday.
Since Jan. 1, Whitman has seen seven suspected heroin overdoses – more than double the amount of the three suspected heroin overdoses in Whitman during the same time period last year, Hanlon said.
In Easton, emergency crews have responded to four suspected heroin overdoses since Jan. 1, on Knollwood Street, Washington Street, Hilltop Lane and Linden Street, fire officials said.
In West Bridgewater, since Jan. 1, firefighters have responded to five calls reporting drug overdoses, officials said.
Bridgewater had two suspected heroin overdoses over the weekend, said Fire Chief George Rogers.
Emergency crews administered Narcan and were able to save both people who were overdosing, he said.
Rogers said he is working with the Bridgewater Police Chief Chris Delmonte to get Narcan into police cruisers.
“We’re averaging probably three to four (overdoses) a week,” Rogers said. “It’s a serious issue.”
Meanwhile, over in Brockton, authorities are investigating Monday’s death at the Westgate Hotel and Conference Center at 391 Westgate Drive.
“Drug paraphernalia was found in the room, but we’ll have to await the finding of the medical examiner as to the cause of death,” Assistant District Attorney Bridget Norton Middleton said Monday.
Meanwhile, Plymouth County District Attorney Timothy Cruz has requested expedited state testing of 400 grams of heroin seized in a Brockton drug bust Friday to rule out any link to the powerful prescription drug fentanyl.
In Plymouth County, there have been no confirmed overdose deaths involving fentanyl, Cruz said. But authorities say they’ve been on the lookout for fentanyl, a powerful painkiller that has been implicated in dozens of fatalities in the Northeast, in some cases in combination with heroin.
In Stoughton, which had five suspected heroin overdose deaths from June to December 2013, police Sgt. Donna McNamara is among officers who received Narcan training in December.
“We trained our entire department to put this on the road in January,” McNamara said. “It’s a life-saving tool that we need to have.”