Newburyport, Mass., is not a place people would expect to have a heroin problem. The small coastal city, whose harborside marina is shown here, has a storied seafaring past. High Street is lined with imposing Federal-style homes that trace their lineage to sea captains and speculators from the 1700s. Joanne Ciccarello/Staff
‘I had a mother sitting in my office crying, telling me her story about how she pulled her son out of a trailer, just over the border in New Hampshire, and [how] he would have died’ from heroin if she hadn’t intervened. – Donna Holaday, mayor of Newburyport, Mass. Ann Hermes/Staff
Tabatha Doiron (kneeling) and her husband, Scott, play with dogs on Plum Island in Newbury, Mass., while another dog walker looks on. Syringes have been found on area beaches. Mr. Doiron says that local fishing towns have become conduits for drugs. Joanne Ciccarello/Staff
A street musician entertains downtown visitors on an unusually warm winter day in Newburyport, Mass., a coastal community north of Boston that is coping with a rise in heroin use. Joanne Ciccarello/Staff
‘The perception [used to be] that heroin was mostly an urban problem. But now there are no ... geographic areas ... immune from heroin.’ – Anthony Pettigrew, a Drug Enforcement Administration agent Ann Hermes/Staff
A jogger runs alongside a bike rider on the Clipper City Rail Trail, a popular recreation path in Newburyport, Mass., where officials have found hypodermic needles and other drug paraphernalia. Joanne Ciccarello/Staff
Thomas Howard, the police marshal of Newburyport, says his department has responded to more than a dozen heroin overdoses in the past six months. Ann Hermes/Staff
Police found an oven loaded with bricks of heroin in a Bronx apartment during a raid on Jan. 30, 2014. According to prosecutors, it was a sophisticated operation, where workers with coffee grinders and scales toiled around the clock to break down bricks of heroin into thousands of tiny, hit-sized baggies, bearing such stamped brands as 'Government Shutdown' and 'NFL.' Office of the Special Narcotics Prosecutor/AP
Nurse Babette Richter, with the South Jersey AIDS Alliance, holds up a container ofnaloxone, a drug used to reverse the effects of a heroin overdose, in Camden, N.J. Law enforcement authorities and other groups have been stocking up on Narcan to help cope with a nationwide heroin problem.
Brian Warden of the Minnesota AIDS Project stocks syringes at an exchange in Minneapolis where drug users trade used needles for new ones to reduce the risk of disease. Jeffrey Thompson/Minnesota Public Radio/AP
A passerby photographs the flowers placed outside the apartment building of actor Phillip Seymour Hoffman, in New York, Feb. 4, 2014. Richard Drew/AP
Authorities take a suspect into custody on drug-related charges in southwestern Vermont, a state the governor says is facing a heroin crisis. Peter Crabtree/The Banner/AP/File
The drug has followed prescription painkillers into new neighborhoods, forcing police and parents to confront an unexpected problem.
ByKristina Lindborg, Correspondent
Ana was a good student in middle school. She got above-average grades, seemed poised and self-possessed, and, like many of her friends in her charming coastal town north of Boston, was on a probable path to college. Then, during her freshman year in high school, she decided to experiment with drugs and alcohol.