Broadside: Bay State's Heroin Epidemic

(NECN) - U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder says the nation faces an "urgent and growing public health crisis" because of an increase in heroin-related deaths.

According to the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, the number of overdose deaths involving heroin increased by 45 percent between 2006 and 2010.

U.S. Representative Katherine Clark and Middlesex County Sheriff Peter Koutoujian has been active in marshaling resources to fight the epidemic of heroin and opiate abuse in Massachusetts.

Clark says they've asked Holder to look at a program lead by Koutoujian that helps inmates battling opiate addiction with a combination of medication and therapy.

"I am hearing from so many families in our district who have lost their children either to overdose or just to the addiction itself, and this is another tool to help address the inmate population that will be part of building the comprehensive system to make sure that we're doing everything we can to end this opium addiction," Clark says.

Koutoujian says counseling is a crucial component to the program.

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