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Health and Medicine

Northeast Ohio tackles heroin overdose epidemic
Overdose death tripled from 2011 to 2012

Kabir Bhatia
Lorain police have been outfitted with Narcan to counter heroin overdoses.
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In The Region:

More than 600 people attended a summit today at the Cleveland Clinic on the growing problem of heroin addiction in Northeast Ohio.

Deaths from overdoses tripled from 2011 to 2012. Lorain County Coroner Stephen Evans says that’s an unfortunate outgrowth of the crackdown on other addictive drugs.

LISTEN: Evans on opiates

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“We had this huge population that was addicted to prescription medicines.  And as those are being pulled off the streets, [the] dealers are putting heroin on the streets.  It’s easier to get.  It’s freely available.  And it’s quite reasonably priced.”

Evans says the problem filtered up from southern Ohio, and West Virginia and Kentucky are among the top states for heroin overdoses.

He’s pushed for a pilot program in his county that allows police officers to carry Narcan syringes to treat heroin overdoses. The drug is squirted into a victim’s nostrils. Since the program began last month, 12 out of 13 lives were saved.

The summit was organized by the U.S. attorneys office and attended by medical professionals, law enforcement and social workers throughout the region.

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