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Heroin additive is leading to more deaths in Cuyahoga County
State officials say fentanyl is increasingly showing up in heroin with deadly consequences

Lyndsey Schley
Marcie Seidel of the Drug Free Action Alliance says Fentanyl and Heroin are a dangerous mixture.
Courtesy of Drug Free Action Alliance
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Heroin overdoses were up only slightly in Cuyahoga County last year, but an additive is causing its own spike in deaths.

A new report from the Cuyahoga County medical examiner shows 198 heroin-related deaths last year, up four since 2013. Deaths related to Fentanyl, an opioid used to cut heroin, have soared eight-fold to nearly 40.

Marcie Seidel is the executive director of the Drug-Free Action Alliance. She says the statistics reflect larger statewide trends and the practice of drug dealers stretching their supplies with fentanyl.


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“It’s a really dangerous thing," Seidel says. "When one takes a street drug like this, they have to realize it’s full of dangerous possibilities, and it’s best not to even get involved in that world.”

Attorney General Mike DeWine says crime labs and coroners are finding fentanyl in more heroin and in more overdose victims.

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"Our crime lab in 2013 had 39 cases," DeWine says. "In 2014, that went up to 387 and it continues to rise. What we’re seeing is it’s moving from Southwest Ohio. It appears to be moving to Northeast Ohio."

The report shows 120 overdoses were reversed by Naloxone in Cuyahoga County since March 2013.

Seidel hopes House Bill 4, which gives more people access to Naloxone, will pass the Ohio Senate soon. 

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