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Health and Medicine


Record number died from Heroin overdoses in Cuyahoga County in 2013
Officials say prescription addiction and increased availibility led to more deaths
Story by LYNDSEY SCHLEY


 
Heroin caused the most overdose deaths in Cuyahoga County of any drug last year.
Courtesy of Cuyahoga County Medical Examiner's Office
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The number of deaths from heroin overdoses in Cuyahoga County reached an all-time high of 195 last year.

Cuyahoga County Medical Examiner Thomas Gilson says he does not know whether heroin use has risen, but he knows the availability has.

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“It’s still the case that we’re pretty evenly divided between city and the suburban community, so it’s something that affects every corner of our county," Gilson says. "It’s not localized to one area. And I think that we’re on a good path, but it’s going to be a long run for us. It’s not going to be a sprint and I hope to see the numbers turn the corner hopefully in 2014.”

Gilson adds that the rise might be partially caused by prescription drug addicts turning to heroin, due to lower costs and stronger prescription restrictions. Gilson says Cuyahoga County found that over half of people who died from heroin overdoses had received a prescription for painkillers.

The rate of increase in deaths from 2012 to 2013 is less than the rate from 2011 to 2012.

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