Friday, May 9, 2014

An Unattended Death

UMass Amherst: Not exactly a drug free zone

UPDATE January 24, 2015

My sitemeter tells me a bevy of folks are now coming to this post after doing Google searches for "heroin death UMass Amherst" or something similar, no doubt in response to the ABC 20/20 episode aired last night, which interestingly enough used the same alias for Eric Sinacori as did the Boston Globe, "Logan."

So they can interview his Mom on camera and show his picture, but not use his real name?

And I wonder when the next student dies of a heroin OD supplied by an on campus dealer who was free to ply his pernicious trade because UMPD can no longer use student informants, will 20/20 cover that?



Although nestled in a quaint little New England town, UMass/Amherst, the flagship of higher education in the state, is virtually a city unto itself.

So it's not overly surprising that death on occasion comes calling, even to the young of age.

Last Fall two sudden unattended deaths occurred that were (initially) covered by the local media -- Eric Sinacori, age 20, and Evan Jones, age 19.  Although technically Sinacori died off campus in his Puffton Village Apartment.

But since they both died in the town of Amherst the medical examiner files a certificate of death with the Town Clerk, although it takes up to six months. 

In Evan Jones case, death was caused by a "seizure."

In Eric Sinacori's case the injury occurred because of "Illicit substance abuse," and the immediate cause of death was, "Acute Heroin Intoxication."

Governor Deval Patrick and Northwestern District Attorney David Sullivan have declared war on opioid abuse.  At a press conference in late February, DA Sullivan called the surge in drug overdoses, "A public health crisis" while citing, "19 deaths in Hampshire and Franklin counties since November 1st, 2013." (Twice the rate of the rest of the state.)

And since Mr. Sinacori died just prior to November 1st he would have pushed the DA's list to 20 deaths! 

Last week in the little town of Deerfield, three individuals were saved from death by heroin overdose over the course of three days by a quick spray of Narcan.

Governor Patrick has signed off on allowing first responders statewide to carry Narcan, as well as friends and family of opioid users (with proper training).

Today UMass graduates 5,500 dedicated young adults who have worked hard over the past few years to attain their degrees.  Governor Patrick is the keynote speaker.

I hope he remembers the students who will never make their graduation ceremonies.


Dr. Ed said...

Larry, it isn't that there are a log of heroin deaths on my island as much as the community is so incredibly small that it doesn't take many to have an incredibly high per-capita death rate from opioid overdoses.

I helped a cousin bury his son (who was found with a needle in his arm) and a few years later, I helped his wife bury him.

I very much understand the motivation behind trying to prevent these deaths -- but I believe that Narcan is actually enabling this and (like the USFS policy of never letting dead timber burn, is actually going to cause more harm in the end.

If you are bright enough to get into UMass, you ought to be bright enough to realize you want no part of Heroin -- and why can't we have messages to that effect instead of just the incredibly sophomoric ones about ETOH?

I'm sorry, but if you do something stupid and get yourself killed, that's not my fault...

Tom McBride` said...

Quaint? There is nothing quaint about this town. Just a bunch of full time residents who have reached the top of the food chain.

Anonymous said...

Is there some way that we can indicate which comments we are reading and which we are skipping?

Anonymous said...

Wow, Larry, talk about inappropriate.

Larry Kelley said...

Death is.

Anon 8:25 PM: Unfortunately not.

Nina Koch said...

I am actually working on a program that allows people to filter blogspot comments, based on the name of the poster, if anyone is interested.

Anonymous said...

God, Nina, soooooooooo interested...

Anonymous said...

Such a bummer of a post on an otherwise cheery day of accomplishment and forward-looking hope. Why do you choose to paint the day with your deflating, yet truthful statistics, rather than let it be and allow for slivers of light to penetrate your sad perspective on our town? Kids are graduating. Yes, everything sucks, but today...?

Anonymous said...

Perfect Nina, because Larry only filters out comments that include names of his very fragile friends whose feelings he doesn't want to be hurt.

Dr. Ed (who HATES heroin) said...

I have problems with the hypocrisy.

UMass has a "mandated reporter" protocol where folks are required to turn in students who might harm themselves -- so they can be locked up for their own good.

UMass now conducts mandated all-student psych assessments, "My Student Body" being the best known example of these -- and Freshmen can't register for their second-semester classes until they take it.

Assuming that this is all legal, let alone ethical, then why isn't Heroin being dealt with in a similar manner?

Mandatory drug testing for all students, involuntary commitment for anyone who tests positive. The kid stays locked up until he/ can convince the staff that he/she/it isn't ever going to use Heroin again.

I think the distinction is that you are willing to let people use heroin (notwithstanding the known risks, but not let them attempt suicide, even though the mortality appears to be far less.

And I consider using Heroin to be a suicide attempt -- an ongoing suicide attempt because it is known to be so incredibly dangerous.

Yes, properly trained & licensed paramedics should have Narcan -- the same way they should have sharp scissors & such to cut loose any suicidal ligature that's obstructing an airway.

A rope around your neck or a needle in your neck, you are dead, dead by your own hand, and what is the difference?

Dr. Ed said...

I am actually working on a program that allows people to filter blogspot comments, based on the name of the poster, if anyone is interested.

Nina, I'm going to say this -- how truly fascist of you.

I'm going to add one more thing -- the women whom I respect are strong enough to disagree with me, and principled enough to keep it to the issues. They don't have any need to hide -- they are strong enough to ignore something I wrote, or to respond to it.

Anonymous said...

The only thing that makes a blowhard tremble.

Anonymous said...

Ed, Sorry to see your cancer is back affecting your judgement again, truly sorry for you.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, Nina, how very fascist of you. You're right up there with the Nazis, the people who brought us those horrific instruments of mind control, the things that enable us to consume information of our choosing. (How do you say "book", "radio", "television", and "browser" in German?)

So stop your cowardly hiding. ("Nina Koch"? You expect us to believe that's a real name?) If you find someone too tedious to stomach... tough luck! Everybody has the God-given right to force you to hear whatever idiocy pops into his skull.

P.S. Please post a link to your filter when it's ready. I will gladly help beta test it.

P.P.S. Isn't it ironic that Ed, who cries like a little girl after every perceived "ad hominum [sic]" attack, attacks you personally when you post a brief impersonal announcement in which his name is not even mentioned? Just be careful, lest you lose the respect of The Blowhard Whose Approval We All Crave.

Anonymous said...

I appreciate this blog for the range of posts it presents. There are many that I disagree with, and some are infuriating, but I'm really interested in knowing the pulse of this town, and Larry's blog is one of the few publications that actually carries a wide range of opinion. I think that's valuable. I can't imagine visiting this blog to see only posts that I won't be upset by.

There is already too much filtering out and shouting-down gong min in society and in the media today. That's cowardly and, yes, fascistic. Not surprising to see that many people in Amherst are on the bandwagon. But not all of us.

Anonymous said...

Congratulations to the Class of 2014!
Happy Mother's Day!

Anonymous said...

Thank you for the positive sentiments expressed in the past two comments.

On behalf of filtering, however: I do not have to see every movie that comes out to make educated guesses as to which fraction are going to be worth my time and which not. The same principle of discretion applies to reading comments on this blog. Some are great, some are amusing, and some are a waste of time. The waste-of-time portion has been growing, and I do not believe that Larry has been censoring what is submitted. So he is unfairly at the receiving end of this trend.

It's good to know that there are still some people of good will reading and commenting, however.

Larry Kelley said...


Anonymous said...

Of course Larry hasn't been censoring comments, only the government can censor speech. Larry doesn't publish comments he doesn't choose to, which is of course his right, and that's not censorship, it's filtering.

Larry Kelley said...

I publish 98.5% but agree with less than 50%.

Dr. Ed said...

Why is it that I am not surprised that no one knows the difference between fascism and National Socialism?

Why would I not be surprised to learn of the number of people who don't/can't understand why I capitalized "National Socials" but not "fascism."

Anyway, I'm going to say what I initially wanted to -- I am sick & tired of people claiming that they are victims of Heroin.


Heroin is addictive and Heroin will kill you -- that's why Heroin is a "Schedule 1" "Prohibited Substance" -- and why it's illegal.

(Heroin still is illegal, right?)

Larry, remember the issue Martin Luther had with the Catholic Church over "indulgences" -- where you could buy forgiveness for sins that people hadn't even committed yet?

How is allowing the friends & family to have Narcan any different? All we are really saying is that "it's OK to use Heroin because if you overdose, someone will give you Narcan."

What about saying "don't do Heroin." What is wrong with saying "Go to ReHab & get un-addicted."

Please tell em that we are at least saying that Heroin is bad...

Anonymous said...

"All we are really saying is that "it's OK to use Heroin because if you overdose, someone will give you Narcan.""

This is a very weak, straw man argument. Nobody is saying that. No one is going use heroin thinking that if they overdose perhaps someone arrives in time to revive them with Narcan. People are not more careless with fire the closer they live to fire stations.

Larry Kelley said...

Good point.

Nina Koch said...

I hope people will think about the fact that the family and friends of a dead person will search on the internet for any mention of the person they have lost. Sometimes that search means they stumble across this blog. That happened with Chris Desjardin a few weeks ago, when one of the vets in the rehab facility found a discussion here of Chris's death.

So, please imagine what it would be like for the family of Eric Sinacori to read the comments here. The first comment they find says, oh well, if you're dumb enough to use heroin, I have no sympathy for you. Then they scroll down and later they see that the families of addicts will be indifferent to the addiction because they now have Narcan. They see that the families should instead be exhorting the addict to go to rehab. Do you really imagine that a family would just shrug their shoulders while they saw a loved one spinning out of control? Of course they try to get help for the addict. But they are not always successful, despite their best efforts.

Ed, your comments are thoughtless, in both senses of the word. You need to stop and think more.

Anonymous said...

Interpreting words and phrases literally (problem with colloquialisms, cliches, neologism, turns of phrase, common humorous expressions)

Difficulty in assessing relative importance of details (an aspect of the trees/forest problem)

An apparent lack of "common sense"

Stilted, pedantic conversational style ("The Professor")

Difficulty in accepting criticism or correction

Difficulty in offering correction or criticism without appearing harsh, pedantic or insensitive

Difficulty in perceiving and applying unwritten social rules or protocols

Low to medium level of paranoia

Low to no apparent sense of humor

Fixating on bad experiences with people or events for an inordinate length of time

Excessive talk

Intense pride in expertise or performance, often perceived by others as "flouting behavior"

Difficulty in handling relationships with authority figures


Anonymous said...

Clinical diagnosis, blowhard.

Dr. Ed said...

No one is going use heroin thinking that if they overdose perhaps someone arrives in time to revive them with Narcan.

I define "Enabling Behavior" as being well-intended efforts that permit an addict to continue the substance abuse without suffering/fearing the consequences thereof."

For example, there are the well-intended parents of means who continually "fix" the messes that their children find themselves in as a result of drunken/drugged stupidity.

There are teenagers and young adults whom police officers (who wish to remain such) would never dare arrest for OUI unless the little darling had actually killed someone. Instead, they'd drive the kid home to Daddy and suggest he either go get the vehicle (immediately) if it wasn't damaged, or "make it disappear" if it was.

Or perhaps the kid would be arrested but nothing would come of it. That happens...

Jared Remy is a good example -- remember that his father is Jerry Remy of the Red Sox. Jared knew that there would be no legal consequences of anything he did -- that his parents' lawyer would get him out of it -- and he was violating 209As and everything else.

Until he brutally murdered a woman -- and now he is going to prison for life without parole, he is essentially dead. In their well-intended efforts to help their son, they wound up destroying him.

No one is going use heroin thinking that if they overdose perhaps someone arrives in time to revive them with Narcan.

It is one thing to have your friends and family pleading with you to stop using Heroin because they are terrified that it is going to kill you.

It is something else entirely for them to say that they have something that will save your life if you overdose.

Under which circumstance would you be more inclined to do the unpleasant things necessary to stop using Heroin?

People are not more careless with fire the closer they live to fire stations.

Actually, people do.

Do not confuse "carelessness" with "high-risk" -- and using Heroin is most definitely "high-risk." I don't think Heroin users are careless as much as they are doing something that is inherently unsafe.

Using the fire analogy, it more is the size of the water main than proximity of the fire station because you also are going to be required to have sprinklers and it's an issue of water feeding the system but you will not be permitted to do certain things unless you have a 5-inch water main (and 5-inch pipe all the way into your building).

Does anyone believe that July 4th fireworks would be permitted without fire trucks & firefighters standing by in case something went wrong? (And I can think of three different years when something kinda did...)

My training in using a dry chemical fire extinguisher involved a large container of what I believe was burning gasoline -- something so impressive that the community was forewarned to abate concerns about the flames & copious black smoke.

Something I would never have been anywhere near but for the presence of a fire truck & firefightes that I knew could/would rescue me if anything went wrong.

It's not "carelessness" as much as "not doing it" -- and I think that applies to Heroin as well.

Dr. Ed said...

"...imagine what it would be like for the family of Eric Sinacori..."

Nina, there once was a time when alcohol was never mentioned as the cause of fatal single-vehicle accidents. The driver was dead, people had sympathy for the family, and hence didn't mention that the accident was caused because the driver was drunk out of his/her/its mind.

That changed in the mid-80's when we realized that we needed to have people know that drunk driving kills -- and that a greater good would be served by having people know that OUI killed this person.

Nina, Eric Sinacori is dead and nothing we do or don't do is going to change that. I'm thinking of the other people who perhaps will be encouraged to stop using Heroin (or stop driving drunk) because we document to them that a real person died because of this and that we aren't making this stuff up.

Nina, when a drunk driver wraps a car around a tree & dies, are we wrong telling everyone that being intoxicated is what caused this accident?

"...if you're dumb enough to use heroin, I have no sympathy for you."

I don't.

Nina, do you have any scintilla of an understanding of how bad the opiate addiction problem is in MidCoast Maine? Do you honestly believe that none of this has involved people whom I care/cared about?

I remember Martina, a young lady engaged to be married, telling me that she'd never had a problem with Methodone and wasn't worried about it -- and about six weeks later she was dead from it. I helped Stephen's father bury him -- and then his older brother found his sternman dead from it one morning. I could go on but won't -- I do not need to hear about what these deaths do to others as I kinda already know that.

Nina, if you have any scintilla of human decency, you will understand that this is not an easy position for me to take, but I truly do not have any sympathy for those who die from opiate overdose. I choose not to use it, I encourage others not to, and that is all I can do....

They have chosen to use Heroin, and they have chosen to continue to use Heroin and they have chosen not to accept the help which is available to stop using it. (and I'm not a fan of Methadone for a whole bunch of reasons.) These are bad choices which do kill people.

Nina, I don't know if you've ever read Edmund Burke -- he's the one who said that each of us have an innate God-given right to our own lives, liberty & property -- Jefferson changed this to "pursuit of happiness" because "property" had two meanings then the way that "man" does today -- and he wanted it stated that everyone had these rights, not just landowners.

We have free will, we own our bodies, and hence we alone are responsible for what happens to them. I will not accept responsibility for the above named people dying -- and I'll go so far as to say that it's their own damn fault they are dead.

I tried to help, as did others, and help was not accepted. I don't need any guilt because I have none -- they chose to kill themselves and that is the price we pay to be a free people with free will.

As far as I'm concerned, Heroin use is a suicide attempt, and overdoses are nothing but suicides. I really make no distinction between a needle in a vein and a bullet in the brain -- it is a self-inflicted death.

They chose to kill themselves, a bad choice but one they (not I) made. When 5%-7% of Amherst has died from this, then come talk to me about how my attitudes are wrong -- 5%-7% of my community has died of this, and we won't even get into the supply issue.

Dr. Ed said...

Anon 10:47 AM

You don't know me and even if you did, I doubt you'd be bright enough to understand me.

And I'm quite certain that you wouldn't be "culturally competent" enough to do so.

And above and beyond that, I really don't give a Fire Truck what you think. There are people whose opinions matter to me -- you ain't one of them.

I'm sure Nina can explain to you what |/dev/null means.

Anonymous said...

Ed, you are a complete narcissist. No one is trying to understand you. This isn't your blog. They are just hoping you go away.

Anonymous said...

It is amazing that a grown man can write obnoxiously thoughtless and heartless ramblings, yet draws the line at "bullshit"or "fuck."
Anon 10:27 was spot on with their observations.

Anonymous said...

Ed would go away if Larry would stop posting his crap. E's ramblings really bring this blog down. For the life of me I don't know why Larry continues to publish them.

Larry Kelley said...

You don't really need Nina's filtering program, all you need to do is ignore the comments that start with, "Dr. Ed said ..."

Anonymous said...

Anon 5:27, for the life of me, I don't understand why You continue to read this blog.

Anonymous said...

Anon 611
You really think E's comments are worth something? Ed is an idiot. I'm willing to bet 99% of the folks who read this blog would agree with me.

Anonymous said...

I think that it's healthy for Larry, who has put so much hard work into this blog, to invite his readers to ignore his most oppressive guest.

Dr. Ed said...

"You don't really need Nina's filtering program, all you need to do is ignore the comments that start with, "Dr. Ed said ..."

Larry, that is the point I was trying to make with the fascist comment -- aren't they adult enough to not read what they don't want to? Aren't they able to make that decision on their own?

However, I have yet to see any rational responses to my enabling question, not to mention my one about "threat to self" protocols.

A lot of cars are now coming out with collision avoidance that literally hits the brakes if you are going to run into something. Can you imagine the outcry if a car company advertised this feature for drunk drivers -- "buy our car because we know you are going to drive drunk and our car will save your life by hitting the brakes when you are too drunk to do it yourself."

That would be a rather nasty public relations problem -- agreed?

Then how is Narcan for friends & family members any different? Remember that people die in OUI wrecks too -- and their parents loved them too.

Anonymous said...

Those inane and incessant television commercials really irritate me. Hmm, I wonder if anybody has ever invented a device that could record my favorite programs and let me watch them without commercial interruptions? Nah, impossible. This is America -- and that would be fascist! And childish!

Those inane and incessant telemarketers bug the hell out of me. Hmm, I wonder if anybody has ever devised a way for me to see who's calling, so I don't have to answer the phone just to tell them to get lost? Nah, impossible. This is America -- and that would be fascist! And childish!

So I guess I'll just put up with Ed's inane verbal diarrhea, along with all the rest of it. It's the only adult, American thing to do.

Alright with being a tool said...

"So I guess I'll just put up with Ed's inane verbal diarrhea, along with all the rest of it. It's the only adult, American thing to do."

An equivalent leftist Ed,

you would celebrate, just because.

Bags on feet, psychotic, criminal.

You'd defend them

until your last

vapid breath.

Wouldn't you?

No friggan wonder it's SO easy

for them

to pick off your savings.

Prolly should give em your credit

cards as well.

You ~definitely~ don't need them.

-Squeaky Squeaks

Anonymous said...

Squeaky, as always you are completely incoherent.

Anonymous said...

Maybe Squeaky and Ed are different sides of the same warped brain. Who really knows? Neither contributes anything productive to the conversation but Larry keeps letting them post figuring we will all tune in to see what bigoted, sexist, and just plain bizarre comment Ed has come up with next. Eliminate him and we would all look for crazy somewhere else....

What next, your organs? said...

"Squeaky, as always you are completely incoherent."

And as always,

you have humbled me.

I apologize, sincerely.

Please, allow me to repeat it,

only this time carefully phrased

that you might understand,


-Squeaky Squeaks

Dr. Ed said...

"All sheep and no shepherd.
Everyone is the same.
Everyone wants to be the same.
Anyone who is different goes voluntarily to the madhouse."

Please note quotation marks -- that is a quote.

fs123 said...

I only read part of your post & had to stop because it sickened me. I am Eric Sinacori's mom and prior to my son passing away, I knew very little about heroin. Now I know more than I want to know. What I've come to find out is that it is a disease rather than an addiction. If everyone educated themselves on things like this instead of making thoughtless callous comments, perhaps with a better understanding you could use your energy in helping people rather than slamming people who are not here to defend themselves. Sure, kids try drugs just to try them and be 'cool' or even peer pressure! I know of no teenager who does not believe he/she is invincible. However, it is such a potent drug that it just takes hold of you and the disease begins to manifest. So, instead of wasting your day away cowardly hiding behind your computer, perhaps you should take that energy and go out there and try to make a POSITIVE difference in someone's life by either educating or helping them.

Larry Kelley said...

I'm sorry for your loss.

Not that it's any consolation, your son's tragic death has sounded an unmistakable alarm heard by an awful lot of people.

The horrendous hold heroin has over people -- from all walks of life -- can never be understated.