20-year-old dead from suspected heroin overdose

LACONIA — Police are investigating the untimely death of a 20-year-old man whose body was found in 18 Hillcrest Drive by a woman who is apparently his foster mother at 8:46 p.m. Thursday night.

Det. Sgt Scott Roy confirmed yesterday that Lance Reason, 20, was found unconscious and not breathing.

"On first glance, it appears to be an accidental (drug) overdose," Roy said.

Fire Department Deputy Chief Deb Pendergast said emergency crews determined Reason was beyond resuscitation and he was pronounced dead at the scene. The N.H. Medical Examiner's office said yesterday that Reason's autopsy has been completed but it will take about six to eight weeks to get the toxicology results.

Reason's cousin Troy Lomax of Braintree, Mass. called The Daily Sun yesterday afternoon and said that while he hadn't seen Reason in a number of years, he remembered him as an easy-going kid who looked a lot like his father. Lomax said he is very close to Reason's father who, he noted, was on his way to Laconia.

Lomax said Reason, a 2012 graduate of Laconia High School, came to New Hampshire as a foster child when he was about 10 and had recently been back in touch with his father, who he identified as Thomas Mitchell of Boston. Lomax said Reason was living in what he believed to be a foster home and that he had stayed there after he became an adult.

"I feel terrible. The two were just starting to reconnect and Lance had come to Boston a few times to be with his dad," he said, noting the two liked to play basketball together.

When asked why Reason hadn't returned to Boston to be with his father, Lomax said Reason had lived in New Hampshire for most of his life and "was a New Hampshire kid."

"He walked New Hampshire, he talked New Hampshire," Lomax said, explaining people from different areas in Boston have different accents and mannerisms that differ greatly from people who grew up in New Hampshire.

Laconia Police Chief Chris Adams said Reason's death appears to be the third drug overdose death in the city this year. He said the investigation into Reason's death is ongoing.
In a prepared statement issued by Laconia Police, Capt. Matt Canfield said that although Laconia is a small community with some beautiful assets, there is a also heroin problem.

"When most people think of heroin, the associate this powerful and addictive drug with large urban cities riddled with crime," he said, describing heroin as a side of Laconia "that few see or want to see."

He said it is brown in color, can be injected, snorted, or smoked and it creates a physical and mental dependence for users.

"Heroin is becoming cheaper and more plentiful in this area. In most cases, one can purchase heroin cheaper that buying a six pack of beer," Canfield wrote. "This is a very scary reality that this community must face."

He said Laconia Police are "working around the clock" to rid the streets of heroin and other drugs but it's a problem that members of the community must come together with police to solve.

Earlier this week, city police arrested Carrie Conway, of 19 Bay Street and charged her with possession of heroin with intent to distribute after a police detective who had a warrant to search her teenaged son, found him walking in a parking lot with four small bags on him, along with $624. A warrant was obtained for a search of her home.

This month, 12 separate people were indicted by a Belknap County grand jury for possession of either heroin, oxycodone or sedatives. These figures do not include the people indicted for cocaine, methamphetamine, or marijuana.

In a brief telephone interview yesterday, Chief Adams said that heroin police are finding in the city and surrounding suburbs is more potent than police have traditionally seen and a user, be it the first time or last time, can easily die from it.

He also said Laconia Police are working closely with police in surrounding communities to combat the recent spike in heroin abuse.

Meredith Police are investigating an apparent drug overdose that occurred about two months ago, but as of a two weeks ago, were still awaiting toxicology reports. Gilford Police confirmed they are investigating at least one apparent drug overdose in their community this year.

Anyone with any information about any recent drug activity is encouraged to call the Laconia Police Department at 524-5252 or the Greater Laconia Crime Line at 524-1717.