Every addict that is abuses either prescription painkillers or heroin are well aware of the dangers they are facing. It is not a shock for them to hear that someone they have used with has passed away from a deadly overdose. Overdose is not something that is enough to scare addicts away from using. In some instances, addicts try to seek out heroin that others have overdosed on knowing how powerful it is. Heroin that has been cut (or mixed) with fentanyl is extremely dangerous because it is very potent. At the same time, it can easily cause a deadly overdose. A seasoned heroin addict is used to their dosage. They know how much they need to get high, but when their bag is cut with something such as fentanyl and they are unaware of it, they are playing with their life.
In Worcester, Massachusetts, drug overdoses have increased steadily over the past eight years. In 2006, Worcester had 96 overdoses compared to 447 in 2013. (Over a 400% increase). State government agencies have tried hard to address the issue. Local organizations and health care providers have fought for better funding, more services and most of all, better education. The good news is that the awareness has finally come about. Unfortunately the spotlight from the opiate abuse was due to a string of heroin overdoses that happened within one week. Between August 1st and August 6th, there were nine overdose deaths (with a 10th likely pending toxicology and autopsy results). Even more scary is that there were 24 more opiate overdoses reported during that time that did not result in death.
The city of Worcester was well aware they were in the midst of an opiate epidemic after finding three bodies in one apartment complex in one evening. Three more bodies were found close by less than 24 hours later. Police and city officials made it clear that something was not right during a media briefing after the 9th fatality. The city, they said, is issuing a public health advisory.
By early March, the town of Taunton had suffered 101 overdoses since the beginning of the year. By the end of March, 11 more victims died of overdoses. Police had suspected that the overdoses were due to a dangerous mixture of heroin and fentanyl. In that same month, Governor Deval Patrick declared a state of emergency due to the high numbers of heroin and opiate-related overdoses. From November 2013 to February 2014 (3 months) 185 people in Massachusetts died from heroin overdoses.
The fear of death is not making any impact on addicts using. For most addicts, they have little to no means for getting help. There is not enough treatment options for them and the fear of withdrawal is always the number one reason they continue using. You can try to scare addicts over and over again with the crazy amounts of overdoses, but until the addict themselves wants help, there is little that can be done to stop these climbing statistics.