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Heroin Busts Highlight Problem in Area Communities

HOLYOKE, Mass. (WGGB) — Police in two cities make two major heroin busts just hours apart.

The arrests took place last night – one in West Springfield, not far from the Holyoke line.

The other on Beech Street in Holyoke.

The arrests are putting the spotlight on the area’s large heroin problem

Used needles, bloody bandages – just a few signs of an alleyway riddled with drug abuse.

Holvin vasquez says this is just a sample of the problem

“There were needles all over. There’s a lot of kids passing around that see all this. I went in and got some bags over there and cleaned it up,” says Vasquez.

Vasquez has three kids. He fears if he doesn’t clean up the needles, any neighborhood kids could find them

“I’ll say that’s the worst part of this…the kids-seeing this. Any of these kids just playing around could grab a needle, catch HIV or Hepattis,” Vasquez adds.

He says even when he does clean this area up, it’s once again filled with drug debris.

On Wednesday, there were no users around.

Holyoke Police put a dent in the drug trade Wednesday night, seizing 158 bags of heroin at this Beech Street apartment. They arrested four people and also confiscated a gun.

Meanwhile, West Springfield Police seized about 150 heroin bags about the same time at this Dunkin Donuts.

Tim Prrington with Tapestry Health says that’s why the city’s needle exchange program is doing well, even in just two months time.

The center tries to stop the spread of disease by allowing users to exchange dirty needles for clean ones

“It’s a startup program so we haven’t reached our full force yet but we’ve seved many people. Word is getting out,” adds Purrington.

Purrington says when users exchange dirty needles for clean ones, workers talk with them about long term addiction help – part of a long term plan to clean the city of alleys like this one

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