Specialized Cleveland police unit focuses on deadly heroin epidemic

Posted at 6:52 PM, Mar 01, 2017
and last updated 2017-03-01 18:58:16-05

February was the deadliest month for heroin overdoses in Cleveland, with 33. So far this year, the number of deaths from heroin overdoses in Cleveland stands at 54.

Within the Cleveland Police Department's narcotics unit there are eight detectives who are part of Heroin Involved Death Investigations or HIDI. It started nearly four years ago. Officers originally started responding to each deadly heroin overdose.

"Then we started responding to nonfatals as well," said Sgt. Mike Ward. It was a way for police to find out who was selling the drug. "We do have success with that," said Ward.

Ward has been a police officer for more than 20 years and has never dealt with anything like this heroin epidemic. "This is unbelievable," he said. Adding, "It's 24 hours a day, seven days a week, it doesn't stop."

If this deadly trend keeps up this year could be deadlier than last year for heroin overdoses. "In 2016, we had 200 fatalities," said Ward. 

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