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Drug seizures, overdose deaths in Northeast Ohio at or near record numbers in 2021

DEA targets illegal pills laced with fentanyl
Posted at 6:57 PM, Jan 05, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-08 20:03:26-05

CLEVELAND — Drug Enforcement Administration agents seized a record amount of fentanyl pills designed to look like prescription pain killers and methamphetamine from the streets of Northeast Ohio in 2021.

It was “a record-shattering year for the division," said Keith Martin, Special Agent in Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration, Detroit Division.

“We’ve seen an influx of meth like we haven’t seen before — probably a 400% increase," Martin said. "Fentanyl pills and methamphetamine, those two drugs have literally taken over the market here."

But even with record numbers of drug seizures, there are startling statistics about the number of overdose deaths in Cuyahoga County.

According to the Cuyahoga County Medical Examiner’s office, there were 533 overdose deaths in 2020. Preliminary numbers for last year indicated 714 people died from overdoses. That number could climb closer to the record high in 2017, which was 727 people who died in Cuyahoga County from overdose deaths.

Stella Maris, the oldest non-profit drug treatment center in Ohio, is near or at capacity in nearly every level of care they provide.

In 2020, they treated 2,780 people; last year that number hovered around 3,500.

“Unfortunately, there is a significant demand for our services, and we don’t foresee that dropping off,” said Daniel Lettenberger-Klein, CEO Stella Maris.

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