Cuyahoga County Heroin Initiative to fight rising death toll - Cleveland 19 News Cleveland, OH

Heroin Initiative formed to fight rising death toll

Cuyahoga County Executive Ed FitzGerald announced today the creation of a Heroin Initiative in partnership with law enforcement and MetroHealth Medical Center. Since 2007, heroin-related deaths in Cuyahoga County have more than tripled, and the county is on pace to see even more deaths this year. In the first six months of 2012, there have been almost 80 heroin-related deaths in our county alone.

"More young people are experimenting with opiates," said FitzGerald. "The face of heroin use has changed dramatically: affecting all races, all socio-economic classes, both sexes and the inner and outer-ring suburbs - all have been tragically impacted. We cannot stand by. We will work, together, to stop this epidemic, and stop the loss of life and the loss of quality of life."

Cuyahoga County Medical Examiner Dr. Thomas Gilson said, "In ever increasing numbers, and with devastating effect, we have seen the loss of life, we have seen the impact this drug is having on our community. There are points of intervention that we can study, develop and use to target heroin use, and change its effect on individuals, and our community."

A new website hosted by Cuyahoga County where people can go to get information in one location is being developed and is expected to go live in the near future. Pooling resources, expertise and best practices, this Heroin Initiative seeks to identify and target strategies that have worked in other communities as well.

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