Heroin epidemic is affecting public safety

Posted at 7:44 PM, Apr 22, 2016
and last updated 2016-04-22 19:44:39-04

More overdoses, more crime, more arrests. The heroin problem in Northeast Ohio continues to grow, according to the people dealing with it first hand. 

It's affecting our police and sheriff's departments by tying up public safety.

Herb de la Porte, the Vice President of LifeCare ambulance, told NewsChannel 5 they've seen an increase in overdose calls over the years.

"Overdoses have tripled," he said. 

They're not alone. 

Detective Mehling, with the Lorain County Sheriff's department said the problems just keep getting worse. 

"This is overwhelming. In Lorain county, they're using Narcan everyday. Sometimes 4,5, 6 times a day," he said.

Lt. Paul Shepard with Fairview Park police said the epidemic is tying up public safety. 

"If we go to an overdose call, we usually send two officers, you have 3 paramedics with an ambulance, then you have to follow up with that! The more calls we have to go to, that's where we aren't available to help other people," he said.

Detective Mehling agreed. He said it's similar for the drug unit. 

"There's not too much other things we have the time to spend on. We are chasing heroin dealers every day," he said. 

Lieutenant Shepard told NewsChannel 5, the people at home who think it doesn't affect them, are missing something. 

This drug epidemic is more than a strain for law enforcement. It's a drain on society.  He said they're doing everything they can to change that.
"The cost reaches everybody. Through medical bills. Through the cost of prosecuting. The Narcan? We had to buy that! That came from tax payer's budget. This is costing society in general," he said.