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Government and Politics

Cuyahoga County battles record heroin overdoses
County starts new education initiative.

Simon Husted

Heroin abuse is taking a tragic toll this year in Cuyahoga County. And today (Wednesday), the county announced a new initiative to educate residents about the deadly drug and reduce its overdose trend that has grown over the last five years.  

Cuyahoga County Executive Ed FitzGerald says nearly 80 heroin overdoses were confirmed within the first six months of 2012. If the trend holds, it will eclipse last year’s record of 107 deaths.

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“It came as such a surprise to me—personally--that the problem had reached this level,” Fitzgerald says. “If I didn’t know about it, my guess was that there is a lot of people in the community, a lot of parents who didn’t know about it. One of the next things we are going to do is really engage the school community.” 

Heroin deaths doubled between 2007 and 2011 in Cleveland suburbs. FitzGerald says it’s a faster pace than inner city communities.

The county plans to launch a heroin education website in the next two to three weeks.

Listener Comments:

My son overdosed on Labor Day weekend, and on Nov 7 was sentenced to 180 days in jail. He is still in jail, and I think this is a flagrant misuse of the sentencing guidelines. He needs to be in treatment. He has never had a legal problem before, and this was a misdemeanor. First time in trouble, and he has been battling opiate addiction since 11-2009 since he got back from Iraq. I have nobody to turn to, and fear he will just serve his time and the opportunity for treatment will be lost. Is this normal to sentence an overdose to so long in jail? What a waste of tax dollars, as well as my son's life. He needs treatment and can't get it as long as he is in jail.

Posted by: Melanie (Atlanta) on January 5, 2013 4:01AM
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