(Columbus, OH) Heroin deaths may be leveling off in Ohio, but there’s a new killer chemical cocktail at work.
County coroners are reporting new surges in the use of methamphetamine. marijuana and cocaine mixed with fentanyl, the powerful painkiller are leading to more drug overdose deaths at a time when authorities focused on stopping the heroin trade.
Illicit fentanyl made in China is flooding in while there is increased availability of meth and a rebound in coke. Both are used in lethal mixes of drugs, while many users may be unaware they're also taking fentanyl or have no clue how much is mixed into the killer chemical concoction.
The problem is particularly acute in Ohio, where overdose death rates continue to climb steadily over the past decade. Authorities say fentanyl can be 50 times stronger than heroin, heightening the danger of those drug mixes.
New overdose death numbers in Franklin County bear out those claims. The county coroner's office says nearly 520 people died of overdoses last year, a 47-percent jump from 2016. Fentanyl-related overdoses made up two thirds of those deaths, with the rest blamed on heroin, cocaine and methamphetamine. The coroner's report also found most of the overdose victims were white males under 40-years-old.
Three men are behind bars in Summit County after what authorities believe is the largest methamphetamine bust in Ohio history. A Cleveland man and two Mexican nationals were charged yesterday in federal court, one week after more than 140 pounds of meth were seized from a Hudson warehouse. DEA agents say the bust is a step toward putting Mexican cartels out of business.