11 deaths blamed on fentanyl sold as heroin - Cleveland 19 News Cleveland, OH

11 deaths blamed on fentanyl sold as heroin

A staggering rash of heroin related deaths in Cuyahoga County in just one month. Investigators say someone is selling fentanyl as heroin.

11 deaths attributed to this drug since November 13, just three weeks. And the most sobering news is that we may not have seen the worst of this yet.

Fentanyl is an extremely potent pain reliever believed to be responsible for a wave of deaths and a number of non-fatal overdoses in our area.

"20 times stronger than heroin," said Billie Gilliam with the Northern Ohio Recovery Association. "50 times stronger than morphine. So it's increasing a person's high."

The 12 deaths in recent weeks are not a surprise to experts who work with addicts.

"It wasn't very surprising," said Bob Walker with the Northern Ohio Recovery Association. "They're estimating right now that every five hours in Ohio this year, one every five hours is dying."

Project Dawn is a program that works on education and distributes potentially life-saving kit containing nasal naloxone.

"We know of 85 individuals who have had their overdoses reversed because of our kits," said Emily Metz with Project Dawn.

85 lives saved and more than 1000 kits have been distributed. Each one could potentially save a life.  

"1100 people who have kits who have been trained and can respond to an overdose with a naloxone kit," said Joan Papp with Project Dawn.      

 In Cuyahoga County, more people are dying from heroin-related overdose deaths than motor vehicle accidents, 195 people last year.

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