Justice Dept Targets Lorain County Fentanyl Dealers

Drug samples with fentanyl analogs in plastic bags at Lake County Crime Lab
Drug samples with fentanyl analogs at Lake County Crime Lab in May 2017 [Nick Castele / ideastream]
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Stemming the tide of drug overdose deaths in Lorain County, and nine other counties across the country, is the focus of a new pilot program from the U.S. Attorney General’s office. 

Extra resources will be funneled to Lorain County for the next two years to try to crack down on people selling the deadly opioid fentanyl, said Justin Herdman, U.S.  Attorney for the Northern District of Ohio.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, fentanyl is 50 to 100 times more potent than morphine and is driving the increase in overdose deaths.

Any case in Lorain involving fentanyl or other chemically-related drugs will be kicked up from the county to federal prosecutors as part of Operation Synthetic Opioid Surge (S.O.S), Herdman said. 

“This is an effort that is based on a model out of Manatee County, Florida, to ensure there were maximum penalties available. And the results out of Manatee County were about an overall dropage  in overdose deaths of about 75 percent,” he said.

Jack Bradley, a defense attorney who practices in Lorain, says although he agrees with the goals of the new program, Lorain county officials have already been aggressively prosecuting drug dealers.

“We’ve had a war on drugs in this country for a long, long time. It just cost the taxpayers a lot of money,” Bradley said.

Lorain County has seen an increase in overdose deaths related to fentanyl and its analogs from 13 in 2014 to 94 last year.


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