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The Rising Use of Heroin in Massachusetts Can Bring a Wide Array of Criminal Cases to a Massachusetts Criminal Defense Lawyer

Yesterday I read Douglas Moser’s column in the Lawrence Eagle Tribune about the rise in Heroin use in Massachusetts. The article touched on many aspects of the problem associated with the drug. It talked about overdoses, deaths from Heroin abuse, changes in the demographics of Heroin users and ultimately an increase in Heroin related arrests. As a Massachusetts Criminal Defense Lawyer who has defended hundreds of Heroin cases the timing of this article came as no surprise to me. I have seen a tremendous increase in my business as a result of this problem. It seems like more people than ever are being charged with Heroin Possession, Possession With the Intent to Distribute Heroin, Distribution of Heroin, Trafficking Heroin and Knowingly Being Present Where Heroin is Kept.

As Moser states, people are driving down to Lawrence, Massachusetts from Main and New Hampshire to buy Heroin. Most of the cases I see have resulted from arrests made in Lawrence and Methuen. The people from out of state who get arrested are primarily being charged with Possession of Heroin. The police witness what they presume to be drug transactions. They stake out areas known to them to be associated with drug distribution. The pattern is all too common. A car bearing New Hampshire plates drives around a neighborhood for a few minutes. Some of these areas are in the more desirable parts of the city. The driver and passenger(s) appear to be looking for someone. Then, a car being driven by someone with Massachusetts, usually from Lawrence approaches. The officers observe what they believe to be a drug transaction. They watch the parties part ways and, believing the car with the New Hampshire plates contains the “buyers” a stop is made. Sure enough the cops find the occupant(s) in possession of Heroin and charges are brought. Other times, the amount of Heroin purchased is sufficient to charge Possession With Intent to Distribute Heroin, a Class A substance. Sometimes the officers actually watch the “users” pull over and shoot up. I can’t even count the number of cases I have had where someone was supposedly caught injecting, snorting or smoking Heroin. The “non-users” get charged with Knowingly Being Present Where Heroin is Kept.

The Massachusetts Heroin Trafficking arrests stemming from this scenario pale in comparison to the possession arrests. The reason is simple. Dealers typically do not bring large quantities to street deals. So what sometimes happens is this: the cops cut a deal with the buyers. Usually those who buy quantities over that considered for personal use only. These people work with the police and set up larger transactions where the amount of heroin sought and ultimately seized reaches the trafficking threshold.

Here is what else criminal defense lawyers see as a result of the increase of heroin in Massachusetts. Sex Crimes. It is not unusual for people to Prostitute themselves in order to get drugs. We have also represented people caught in various sex acts, Open and Gross Lewdness or Lewd and Lascivious Conduct, being performed for drugs.

Why the current increase in Heroin related drug crimes? Moser suggest one reason is the increase in OxyContin use. OxyContin is expensive at the street level. So, once a person’s prescription runs out getting the drug can be a financial hardship. Heroin is a cheap alternative that seems to satisfy the addict’s urge.


The Law Offices of Stephen Neyman, PC has been defending people accused of committing drugs crimes for over twenty-five years. If you have been charged with a drug crime, or if you think you will be charged with a drug crime you need a lawyer. Call us at 617-263-6800 or send us an email.