Cuyahoga County is responding to a dramatic increase in heroin use—and overdose deaths—in Cleveland and the suburbs by investigating people who lose their lives to the street drug.
Cuyahoga County Executive Ed FitzGerald announced a new initiative last month aimed at curbing deaths by heroin overdoses, according to various news sources, including cleveland.com.
Police Chief Richard E. Mannarino said heroin isn't a big problem in Brecksville. The department has not seen any arrests or overdoses among juveniles in recent years, he said, a problem that has come up in nearby Independence. NewsNet5 reports that there were four fatal heroin overdoses in Independence last fall and winter.
The county program includes a new website and an investigation by the Medical Examiner's Office of each person who dies from a heroin overdose to see if there was a way the death could have been prevented by some type of intervention.
Authorities say heroin use on Ohio has become a near-epidemic, with the addictive drug more available and cheaper than most other narcotics.
Experts say people addicted to prescription medication often switch to heroin because it is less expensive and easier to get.
As of mid-June, 79 people in Cuyahoga County had died from heroin use this year, compared to 107 in all of 2011.