Heroin-related overdose deaths in Cuyahoga County increase fivefold in six years

CLEVLEAND - Heroin-related overdose deaths increased for the sixth straight year in 2013, clocking in at 195 — five times as many as in 2007, the Cuyahoga County Medical Examiner reported Friday.

Though the year-over-year increase was less, the pattern of rapidly increasing mortality rates due to the drug continued.

Medical Examiner Thomas P. Gilson credited Naxolene distribution centers, put in place by County Executive Ed Fitzgerald, with reversing 31 overdoses that could have caused deaths. 

The problem, which officials have called an epidemic, escalated in in November last year, when at least 16 overdosed in a 24-hour period from a batch of laced heroin.

Area officials held a summit later that month to discuss ways to tackle the problem.

MORE: Former heroin addict tells her story as drug rips through state with overdoses on the rise



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