Watch CBS News

17 Heroin Overdoses, 1 Death: Could Happen Anywhere Says DEA Agent

DETROIT (WWJ) - Seventeen overdoses and one death.

The city of Akron, Ohio, is reeling with a rash of heroin overdoses within a 24-hour span.

Special Agent Rich Issacson with the DEA's Detroit field division isn't surprised.

"It's a huge problem in Akron, Ohio but it's also a huge problem across the United States," said Issacson. "There is not a community in southeast Michigan that hasn't been hit hard by the opiate abuse problems, that's including pain killers, like hydrcodone and oxycodone products as well as heroin."

Issacson says word of the deaths probably won't scare a lot of people into rehab.

"On occasion when there's talk of heroin overdose deaths - or a series of heroin overdose deaths; sometimes as counter-intuitive as it sounds - that actually sounds attractive to a heroin addict because they know that if that heroin caused the death of another user, that must have been pretty strong heroin," Issacson said.

Police in Ohio say the calls began around 1 p.m. and continued through the afternoon and evening and three of the victims include a mother and her two daughters.

The Summit County Medical Examiner's Office says a 44-year-old man died of a suspected overdose and an autopsy is set for Wednesday.

Edwards says 55 people have died from heroin overdoses in the city this year.

Heroin use has reached the highest level in 20 years in the United States, according to a recent global drug report that calls the trend "alarming."

The UN Office on Drugs and Crime released its World Drug Report last month, which said heroin is the deadliest drug worldwide, and said its increasing use in the U.S. is of particular concern.

There were about one million heroin users in the U.S. as of 2014, almost three times the number in 2003. Deaths related to heroin use have increased five-fold since 2000.

There are an estimated one million heroin users in the U.S. as of 2014 ... three times the number of a decade before.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.