CLEVELAND - Heroin usage isn't just a 1970s fad, but a real and growing problem in Ohio suburbs, according to the Lake County Sheriff's Office.
A report from Chief Deputy Frank Leonbruno said heroin usage is becoming more popular among teenagers and people in their 20s.
He said compared to heroin of the 1970s, today's drug is up to 15 times stronger and has recently claimed twice as many lives as it used to.
(Click here for an in-depth report on heroin use spreading across the country: http://on.wews.com/S30ZJ4)
Leonbruno described this phenomenon as a result of teens using and getting addicted to expensive "gateway drugs" like Oxycontin and Vicodin.
A single pill of these prescription medications can cost between $45 and $75. An entire bag of heroin could cost less than $10, said Leonbruno.
The sheriff's office reported that it's common for dealers to give teens samples of prescription medication for free until they're hooked. Then, teens will buy the drugs from dealers until the habit gets too expensive and they turn to heroin to feed their addiction for less.
"Parents need to not only be aware of the problem, they need to speak directly and honestly with their children, whether they are in their teens or 20s."