AKRON, Ohio-- The heroin problem is an epidemic. But, a far more dangerous version of the drug is claiming more lives, taxing public safety systems and requiring more of the antidote than ever to keep users alive.
In Akron, July has been a tragic month with a record number of overdoses and deaths now linked to an animal tranquilizer that's being laced with heroin and is 10,000 times stronger than morphine. Akron police report 247 overdoses, and 21 deaths in the past 20 days. It's tying up safety services.
The Barberton Fire Department and EMS say, in the past month, half of all of their calls-- as many as all of the other calls combined-- is because of an overdose.
The department is ordering more of the antidote Narcan than it ever has because it takes as much as seven doses now to try and revive someone who has taken the heroin that's been laced with the very powerful tranquilizer carfentanil.
"A dose of Narcan would usually revive that person and bring them back. What we are noticing now is our paramedics sometimes use between four and six, maybe seven doses of the Narcan to revive them, so it is a lot stronger and it has taken a lot more," said Lt. Rick Edwards with Akron police.
The amount of Narcan being delivered is growing; the cost is growing.