Heroin continues to exact a heavy toll throughout the Cincinnati region, says the Cincinnati Enquirer. Authorities say the number of deaths from the drug appears on track to shatter records this year in Southwest Ohio and Northern Kentucky, a spike driven largely by sales of heroin mixed with the powerful painkiller fentanyl. “The bodies are piling up faster than the coroners’ offices can take care of all of them,” said Jan Scaglinone, a pharmacist with the Drug and Poison Information Center of Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center.
The Butler County Coroner’s Office handled 50 fatal drug overdoses in the first quarter of the year – a 139 percent increase over last year. The Montgomery County coroner’s office is on pace to record 240 overdose deaths this year from heroin, fentanyl or a drug cocktail containing fentanyl. The county had 161 heroin deaths in 2013, 93 in 2012 and 50 in 2011. Orman Hall of the Governor’s Cabinet Opiate Action Team in Ohio said the rapid rise of fatal overdoses has been fueled by dealers’ “boosting” heroin with fentanyl. “We have heard from several communities that fentanyl-laced heroin is becoming a very big problem,” he said, adding that the dangerous drug combination sent 20 people to emergency rooms one weekend this year in the Northeast Ohio city of Lorain.