Cocaine makes a deadly comeback in Northeast Ohio

Posted at 7:20 AM, Jul 18, 2017
and last updated 2017-07-18 07:40:27-04

Cocaine is making a comeback and Lorain County's coroner says it's because some people believe it's safer than heroin.

But he says they’re dead wrong.

"These are young people, most of these people that are dying are between 20 and 40 years old,” said coroner Doctor Stephen Evans.

Evans said during this drug epidemic in Northeast Ohio, it's hard to keep breaking the devastating news to families that a loved one died from a drug overdose.

Now, Evans finds himself more and more often telling families a relative has died from a cocaine overdose.

Through May of this year, 61 people have died from heroin and other drug overdoses in Lorain County. However, 34 people have died from cocaine related overdoses, sometimes mixed with fentanyl, moving it ahead of heroin.

“The agony and the tragedy are overwhelming to the people it's happening to, it's overwhelming to the coroner's office, the police departments, we are seeing so much death it's out of control,” Evans said.

Fentanyl still kills more people than any other drug in Lorain County, but Evans said cocaine and cocaine mixed with fentanyl is second, followed by heroin and heroin mixed with other drugs.

In 2008, just one person died of a cocaine overdose in Lorain County. Last year, that number shot up to 56.

“It's gone out of sight, it's amazing,” Evans said.

Evans explains some drug users chasing a high mistakenly believe cocaine is safer than heroin, but he says that can be a deadly decision.

"They're afraid to use heroin, so they are substituting cocaine and think it's safer, when actually obviously it's not,” Evans said.

Evans said for every one person who dies from a drug overdose, it's estimated that 180 people are abusing drugs. 

Heroin is still the deadliest drug in Cuyahoga County.

So far this year, 301 people have died from a heroin related overdose, and 72 people have died from a cocaine related overdose.