A new drug is sweeping across Ohio that is similar to but much more dangerous than heroin. According to reports, the powerful prescription painkiller fentanyl is up to 25 times stronger than heroin and has already caused many deaths in the state.
Reportedly, fentanyl, which is often sold as “pink heroin” showed up in Lorrian County at the end of 2013 and made its way into neighboring counties soon after.
The drug can be extremely dangerous when people don’t realize that is has been laced into heroin and end up taking a toxic dose.
In fact, several of the fentanyl overdose deaths that have occurred involved people who were using fentanyl-laced heroin. Additionally, officials from Summit County said that most of the heroin that they have confiscated has been laced with fentanyl.
Overall, heroin deaths in Northeast Ohio are on the rise, officials say, but they could be even higher if it wasn’t for an antidote drug that is being used to reverse the effects of a heroin overdose.
Last year, the Ohio governor signed House Bill 170 into law, which allows first responders, family members and friends of heroin addicts to carry naloxone, which reverses the effects of opioid overdoses.
Numerous counties in Ohio have also been working on an initiative called Project DAWN (Deaths Avoided With Naloxone) in effort to make the antidote more accessible. So far, naloxone has saved hundreds of lives in the state.
Finally, police throughout the state are cracking down on suspected heroin dealers in effort to stamp out the overdose problem. One of the most notable sting operations resulted in 33 arrests when an alleged Chicago-to-Akron heroin ring was taken down in August.
Prosecutors have also been coming down harder on people who supply drugs to individuals who end up overdosing. In one example, a seller whose fentanyl-laced heroin caused the overdose of a 32-year-old Ohio woman in 2013 was sentenced to 20 years in prison last month.
As you can see, state lawmakers as well as law enforcement officials are taking drugs like heroin and fentanyl more seriously than ever, which means that charges involving these drugs can lead to extremely serious consequences.
For that reason, anyone accused of drug crimes involving heroin or fentanyl needs to be represented by a skilled defense lawyer who can stand up for their rights and future.
Source: Northeast Ohio Media Group, “Heroin epidemic raged on in 2014 in Northeast Ohio but naloxone helped save lives,” Ryllie Danylko, Dec. 30, 2014