Lucas Co Sheriff's office investigates heroin overdoses as homic - 13abc.com Toledo (OH) News, Weather and Sports

Lucas Co Sheriff's office investigates heroin overdoses as homicides

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The Lucas County Sheriff's Office has joined hands with other agencies to fight the heroin epidemic. Investigators are now treating heroin overdoses like homicides. Firefighters and hospital officials will now notify the sheriff's office when someone dies of an overdose.

"People are dying families are getting crushed. The epidemic is growing its not going away," said Lucas County commissioner Tina Skeldon Wozniak.

County leaders mapped out the number of heroin overdoses and say they are devastating. In 2013 the coroners office recorded 80 heroin deaths. This year from January until May 60 people died from the drug. The victims are mostly white men.

"When someone overdoses we will treat those as a homicide," said Lucas County Sheriff John Tharp.  

 Investigators are being trained to look for evidence. Evidence that will help investigators track down the dealer.  

"Is the heroin packets that are still there do they match overdoses from other deaths that occurred," said the sheriff.

"If we can find the sellers. If we can find the person that sticks the needle in the arm that kills the young boy then maybe that is the stick maybe that is a criminal prosecution for involuntary manslaughter, manslaughter or even murder," said Lucas County prosecutor Julia Bates.  

The sheriff's office is keeping a close eye on what they call the hot spot areas where they've seen multiple deaths.

"If they want to take the responsibility to go out and sell drugs and take that chance of knowing the drug they are selling could overdose and die, they're going to be held responsible," said the sheriff.  

The sheriff says his department will do whatever it takes to combat this epidemic. A drug problem that's tearing apart families.

"We are hear to stand by our families in our community and we are grateful this isn't waiting another day to get off the ground," said commissioner Wozniak. 
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