PLAINFIELD -- Police have been chasing a lot of rumors around Plainfield lately -- including one that may be responsible for multiple deaths in the last year and a half.
Investigators are looking into the possibility that tainted heroin is circulating among users. The drug itself killed at least eight people in the small Connecticut town in the last year and half. Alex Estrada, 23, was the latest victim.
"We seen him on Saturday. We went all out together and somewhere during the night something happened," said Estrada's mother, Sandra Armstrong.
FOX 61 News met her the the day of her son's wake.
"He was so loved," said the aching mother, who shares more on her son Estrada's struggle with the drug in the video above.
"I don't want other parents to have to go through this," she said, adding that she has watched heroin overcome her town in recent years.
It's all part of a larger reality, according to Pat Rehmer, who heads Hartford Healthcare's Behavioral Health Network, which runs opiate addiction treatment centers in the state.
"If anything, in some ways, this is becoming more of a suburban problem," Rehmer said in an interview with FOX 61 News last week. She noted that the state has seen a drastic increase in opiate addiction in both young adults and middle-aged women.
The epidemic is so rampant outside Connecticut's cities that Rehmer said she's planning to expand from one suburban clinic in Glastonbury to Cheshire, northeastern Connecticut and more.
"I lived in Hartford and we moved out here to get the kids away from the city, away from all that, you know? And it was the last thing I thought and it's worse here than it is out there I think," Armstrong said, highlighting the epidemic in smaller towns in the state.
Gov. Dan Malloy said he is aware of the problem, too.
"It remains a very big priority," he told FOX 61 News on Friday.
He noted moves like funding education to prevent heroin use and changing legislation to help people already addicted.
"Now you can go to a pharmacist if you have a child you believe is in danger of of dying of an overdose. You can go get the drug to reverse that," said Malloy as an example.
He acknowledged that stopping the spread of heroin is an uphill battle. "Heroin is purer than it's ever been and cheaper than it's ever been," the governor said.
It's a battle that Armstrong already lost. Her small suggestion to the average Plainfield resident and beyond? Be nice.
"If you're an addict and you see somebody and they put you down, that doesn't make you feel better. That makes it even worse and what are you going to do? You are going to hide and go medicate that pain you got from feeling like an idiot for doing something that you did that you didn't want to do in the first place," she said.
Plainfield police said much of their work these days is investigating drug dealers. According to State Police, a nearby task force called the Jewett City Narc Suppression Team has made 66 drug-related arrests in that specific rural area since January of this year.