LORAIN COUNTY– Three people are dead and nearly two dozen more had to go to the hospital after they took a potent form of heroin over the weekend.
One person is under arrest and police say it’s a growing problem that seems to only be getting worse.
Lorain police say there were 21 heroin overdoses across Lorain County over the weekend. Two people died in the county; another died at a hospital in Cuyahoga County. The county coroner says it is the highest number of overdoses he’s ever seen.
“This weekend apparently there was a bad batch of heroin and we had 16 overdoses just in a 24-hour period in Lorain County,” said Lorain County Coroner Stephen Evans.
According to police, the number of heroin overdoses had jumped to 21 across the county by Monday afternoon.
Three people died, including a 21-year-old man from Amherst and a 32-year-old woman from Elyria.
“We think that it may be laced with something like Fentanyl. Fentanyl is a strong narcotic that can be lethal if taken in the same doses that you take heroin,” said Dr. Evans.
On Sunday, officers in Elyria arrested Siarerres Noble, also known as Sizzle, on Brunswick Drive in Elyria. He was charged with three counts of trafficking in drugs.
They say they caught him with 75 grams of a potent heroin drug mix nicknamed “China White,” worth about $10,000 on the street. It’s said to be four to five times stronger than heroin.
“There are so many people I know that are out here on heroin and it’s a killer. It’s a killer,” said a former drug addict who did not want to be identified.
She says she’s a former cocaine addict, who has tried heroin and has many friends who still use it.
“It’s kind of a pain reliever and as people do it, more and more you need it every day and you get sick. You can’t get out of bed; you can’t function; you get cold sweats; you have to have it daily. It’s a daily drug. You have to have it,” said the woman.
The county coroner says more people may have died over the weekend, but Lorain police are part of a pilot program to give heroin users a neutralizing drug called Narcan. He also says some people who cannot get prescription pain medicine, turn to heroin.
“We had a huge population in the United States that were taking narcotic pain pills. As those are being dried up, the people are switching to heroin because it’s on the streets. It’s cheap and it’s readily available,” Dr. Evans said.
“It’s with any drug, you never know what you’re gonna get. You never know what people cut it with,” said the woman.
Detectives are still waiting for lab results to confirm exactly what the susbstance is. Although Lorain police tell FOX 8 that even though it’s being sold as heroin, field tests do not test positive for the drug.
Noble is being held in the Lorain County jail without bond.
The joint investigation is being conducted by the Elyria Police Department’s narcotics unit, Lorain police and the Lorain County Drug Task Force.