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Staten Island heroin crisis highlighted after 9 deaths in 10 days

RICHMOND TERRACE, Staten Island — The heroin epidemic on Staten Island is rapidly spreading through the entire area.

There have been nine deaths in 10 days including three over the weekend. There have been 70 heroin-related deaths in 2016.

The Staten Island District Attorney says it's a middle-class problem.

"It started with the painkillers and then it moved to heroin in Middle America," Michael McMahon, Staten Island District Attorney told PIX11. "And Staten Island is more like Middle America that the four other boroughs."

McMahon showed PIX11 a map of all the suspected heroin overdose deaths so far this year on Staten Island.

The neighborhoods they've occurred in from Rose Bank to New Dorp and Tottenville.

McMahon says it's not necessarily a bad batch of heroin, just a stronger variety that is causing these deaths.

"The heroin we are seeing is coming from Mexico, 60, 70, 80 percent," McMahon said. "And it is often mixed with fentanyl."

Last week six alleged heroin dealers were nabbed in operation Beach boys named after South Beach where the drugs were allegedly sold. But so far, these busts are having no effect on the number of fatal overdoses.

"It knows no boundaries, all ages, all races, all incomes," said Dr. Phyllis Cureton, program director of Daytop Village. "It started with pills and it leads to Heroin."

At drug treatments centers across the island, addiction specialists are alarmed by the number of heroin overdose deaths. There have been 70 deaths so far this year and that number is expected to climb.

"People have to start talking about the problem," Alicia Reddy, Focus on Addiction Angel specialist told PIX11. "We had one brave mother who came forward and talked about her son's addiction, which killed him. I commend her for that."