Local leaders, the medical community and law enforcement are looking at ways to combat the growing heroin epidemic in western Massachusetts.
They held a conference at Greenfield Community College Monday as we deal with the problem of cheap, available heroin in our part of the state.
A group called the "Opiate Education and Awareness Task Force" say they are working to combat the problem in several areas.
There have been several arrests lately involving the drug and the reason we are hearing more about it is because there is a growing problem.
The drug is cheap to make and the supply is large. Police are going after the suppliers and trying to educate children before they start. Medical professionals and lawmakers are looking at ways to fund treatment. They say treatment may be expensive, but doing nothing is even more costly.
"We've had three bank robberies in Greenfield, we've had several convenience store robberies, the resources that we have to put to bear when something like that happens is incredibly expensive," said Franklin County Sheriff Christopher Donelan. You can always connect the dots between those actions and some kind of addiction and in this case heroin addiction."
This is the first conference of its kind here in western Massachusetts and there are others going on around the state
Vermont Gov. Peter Shumlin described the problem there as a "full-blown heroin crisis."
The aim here in western Massachusetts is to keep it from getting any further out of hand.
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