GREATER SPRINGFIELD – The word “Hollywood” generally means glamour and excitement. In Western Massachusetts, it can mean death.
A brand of heroin with the word “Hollywood” stamped on the packets has caused a string of overdoses and deaths.
Multiple arrests and seizure of 9,000 packets of the killer narcotic by the Springfield Police Department (SPD) may have put a sizable dent in the local supply.
On Jan. 1, the Holyoke Police Department issued a warning about Hollywood heroin. At that point there had been seven documented overdoses involving this heroin with three deaths.
In a written statement Holyoke Mayor Alex Morse and Police Chief James Neiswanger said, “These incidents involve subjects who had ingested heroin and became unconscious. One was ‘delivered to the door of the Providence Hospital’ then transferred to the Holyoke Hospital. He has since survived. Several were found in various locations in Holyoke after taking the heroin. One was transported to the Holyoke Hospital and survived.”
Since Dec. 30, there have been four fatalities due to overdose in Chicopee with two of them being attributed to the Hollywood heroin, Michael Wilk, the public information officer for the Chicopee Police Department, said.
Hampden County District Attorney Gulluni said on Jan. 2, “Family and friends of suspected opiate users should be advised of a potentially more lethal strain of heroin being distributed in the area.”
Gulluni added people should be aware of the “Good Samaritan Law,” which ensures that those who call 911 to report an overdose for themselves or others will not be charged with the possession or use of opiates.
The DA has directed the Massachusetts State Police Detective Unit attached to his office to conduct an investigation into the production and distribution of the heroin. Anyone with information is asked to call the Massachusetts State Police, Springfield Barracks, at 736-8390, or use the anonymous service, Text-a-Tip: text message “crimes” (274637) and begin with the word “solve.”
Sgt. John Delaney, the SPD public information officer, told Reminder Publications there has been one overdose attributed to the drug in Springfield.
“The reason for the deaths in the ‘Hollywood’ bags case is more than likely as a result of the purity of the drug – not cut enough. They are analyzing the drug to be sure. Anything over 80 percent heroin can stop the heart of even your worst addicts,” Delaney explained.
On Jan. 3, the SPD confiscated 9,000 bags of the heroin, $20,000 in cash and arrested three people.
Delaney reported, “Several deliveries were intercepted in the city and dealers from Holyoke, Chicopee and North Adams were arrested.?The detectives then concentrated on the source and tailed another delivery where they confiscated 8,000 bags hidden in a fake bumper. This arrest took place at Sumner Avenue and Ormand Street in Springfield.”
Arrested were Francis Willor of 455 State St., North Adams; Elvis Luckham of 68 Warragan St., Chicopee; Elvin Resto of 128 Beech St., Holyoke; and Juan Perez of 28 Governor St., Springfield.
Wilk said, “If you have any information on this drug, please, contact our narcotics officers at 594-1700 or message via text a tip. If you need emergency medical help, call 911 immediately.”