Six heroin overdoses have been recorded in Bourne since January 1—with four reported last week alone.
In the midst of those overdoses, Bourne police and several other police agencies cooperated on the arrest of five people in connection with heroin trafficking in the Bourne and Wareham area.
Police seized 264.7 grams of heroin in connection with the arrests, along with illegal ammunition and paraphernalia used in the packaging and distribution of illegal narcotics, Bourne Police Detective Sergeant John R. Stowe said.
The detective sergeant estimated the street value of the seized heroin, depending on its purity, at between $30,000 and $50,000.
As for last week’s overdoses in Bourne, they were not fatal, although it was a close call in all four cases.
The Bourne incidents mirror a surge of heroin overdoses on Cape Cod and across the United States in recent weeks.
“We’re seeing a lot more use,” Det. Sgt. Stowe said.
In 2013, Det. Sgt. Stowe said, the Bourne Police Department responded to 13 confirmed heroin overdoses. The first overdose was not reported until March 2013.
The detective sergeant said heroin has become more prevalent as the market in illegal prescription pills such as oxycodone has declined.
Det. Sgt. Stowe said the overall supply of the illegal pills has decreased.
Users also find heroin less expensive.
Raymond V. Tamasi is chief executive officer and president of Gosnold on Cape Cod, a Cape-based organization facility that treats addiction.
Mr. Tamasi said whether addicts shift to different drugs in the same group—in this case opiates—is almost always driven by basic economic rules of supply and demand, and the effect of those two factors on price points.
“So now easier access to less expensive heroin drives people to that drug,” Mr. Tamasi said.
He added that one would like to think that greater attention paid by prescribers of pain medications to their prescribing patterns makes it more difficult for people to obtain opiates via prescriptions.
“I’m not sure if that’s the case but it might be a factor,” Mr. Tamasi said.
On Sunday, February 9, at 9:35 AM an overdose was reported on Carlton Road. The individual, a 35-year-old man, was in imminent danger of death, according to police.
Records show that Narcan, a drug that counteracts opiate overdoses, was used to revive the man. The records are not clear as to who administered the Narcan. Bourne paramedics transported the individual to Falmouth Hospital.
At 5:27 PM on February 11, police and Bourne Fire Rescue responded to a reported overdose on Sycamore Avenue. Rescue workers transported the individual to Falmouth Hospital.
Several hours later, police and Bourne Fire Rescue responded to a reported overdose on Catskill Road. Rescue workers transported the individual to Tobey Hospital in Wareham.
Deputy Fire Chief David S. Pelonzi, who was on both calls, said federal law prevented him from disclosing whether Narcan was used to treat either or both individuals.
Two days later, at 6:57 PM on February 13, police and Bourne Fire Rescue responded to an overdose, again on Carlton Road. Rescue workers transported the individual to Falmouth Hospital.
Deputy Chief Pelonzi said federal law prevents Bourne Fire Rescue from disclosing whether the Carlton Road overdoses were suffered by the same individual.
On February 10, detectives from the Bourne Police Department, the Cape Cod Drug Task Force, the Wareham Police Department and the Bristol County Drug Unit, stopped two vehicles in Wareham whose occupants were suspected of involvement in the trafficking of heroin.
According to Bourne police, the stops were the result of a multi-jurisdictional investigation into the trafficking of heroin in Bourne and Wareham.
One of the vehicles was operated by Damien Chapman, 37, of Plymouth. Inside the vehicle was a passenger, John Goulding, 36, of Bourne.
Det. Sgt. Stowe said officers found and recovered 264.7 grams of heroin on Mr. Goulding. Police arrested both Mr. Chapman and Mr. Goulding, charging them both with trafficking heroin.
The other vehicle was occupied by Geoffrey Chandler 26, of New Bedford and Bourne, along with two women, Brittany Sullivan, 22, and her sister, Ashley Sullivan, 22, both of Plymouth.
Police arrested the occupants of this vehicle and charged them with trafficking and conspiracy to violate the controlled substance act.
In conjunction with the arrests, officers executed a search warrant of Mr. Goulding’s residence in Buzzards Bay.
Through that search, police said, they recovered various items used in the packaging and distribution of illegal narcotics.
Police said they also recovered unsecured and illegally possessed ammunition.
The arrests of the five individuals followed an extensive investigation resulting from complaints generated by concerned citizens into activities being conducted in and around the Buzzards Bay area.
Police said both Mr. Goulding and Mr. Chapman were arraigned in court and are being held.
As for Mr. Chandler and Ashley and Brittany Sullivan, police said they posted bail, but subsequently defaulted on their scheduled court appearances.
The police continue to investigate the case.
So why the surge in heroin overdoses in Bourne and across the Cape?
Because dealers “cut” the drug with adulterants, Mr. Tamasi said, the user can never be certain of its purity and that the effects will be the same.
“This variation and resultant unpredictability of effect is one reason why [there are] overdoses,” he said.
Mr. Tamasi also alluded to the practice in parts of the United States of lacing heroin with fentanyl, another opiate, which he said is having devastating overdose results.
“We don’t think that has reached the Cape, but who knows for sure?” he asked.