TOLEDO, OH (Toledo News Now) – Law enforcement is calling heroin use a growing problem, saying it is not just in the inner city, but in suburban high schools. Police add that an especially deadly type is moving into our area.
On Monday, police found a man dead in east Toledo, and say it was likely the result of a heroin overdose. Last week, police made a major bust, recovering around $500,000 of the dangerous china white heroin.
To truly realize the growing magnitude of the heroin problem in our area, all a person needs to do it step inside the labs of the Lucas County coroner's office.
Last year, there were 33 deaths in Lucas County associated with heroin. There have been 16 this year. Chief Toxicologist Doctor Robert Forney says he rarely saw heroin-related deaths 5 years ago.
"It's a dramatic increase. To go from none to a dozen or two dozen deaths a year, that's pretty large," Forney said.
Overdose deaths are becoming more common in the area as heroin is. Black tar heroin typically comes from South and Central America, but police are seeing more china white heroin.
China white comes from Asia. It is chemically treated, and more refined than other forms of the drug, giving it a white appearance. It's up to 7 times more powerful than other types of the drug.
"They're not familiar with the potency and when they start using it they can slip into an overdose pretty easily and die," said Sgt. Joe Heffernan of the Toledo Police Department.
Police are putting resources into cracking down with enforcement and stepping up awareness about the dangers of heroin to keep the streets safer, and to keep people from becoming part of a staggering statistic.
"I just hate to see young people start down this road because it's just totally a road of despair," Heffernan said.