Heroin Epidemic Continues In Cuyahoga County Throughout 2014

Deaths from heroin overdoses in Cuyahoga County in 2014 are slated to be on par with last year’s total which came in at 194.

By the numbers the County can be considered a heroin hot spot with more deaths per capita than Los Angeles County. Dr. Jason Jerry, an addiction specialist at the Cleveland Clinic, says the problem isn’t going away.

“I think it speaks to the fact we still have a lack of access to treatment … effective treatment … for opiate addiction. And as long as we have a lack of effective treatment, I would expect those numbers are going to continue to climb,” Jerry says.

The year 2014 has produced some positives. Programs to distribute kits to reverse the effects of overdose have ramped up across the State. And to date, one in Cuyahoga County has saved over 85 lives.

And federal legislation was introduced in Congress to expand the number of patients doctors can treat with a medicine called suboxone which can help addicts stay clean.

Still Jerry says major treatment barriers persist like long waiting lists and high out of pocket costs. But he and other members of a Northeast Ohio collaborative made up of judges, law enforcement officials, and treatment specialists plan to keep pushing for policy changes in the coming year to combat the heroin epidemic.

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