Recovering cocaine addict helps other addicts as cocaine makes a deadly comeback in Northeast Ohio

Posted at 3:35 PM, Jul 24, 2017
and last updated 2017-07-24 16:44:46-04

Deadly heroin overdoses have risen sharply in recent years across northeast Ohio. Now, experts warn of a cocaine comeback after nearly three dozen people have died from cocaine and cocaine mixed with fentanyl overdoses already this year in Lorain County. 

Richard used cocaine, and crack cocaine for 17 years.

RELATED: Cocaine-related deaths skyrocket in Cuyahoga County

He agreed to talk, but because he's still involved with Cocaine Anonymous, he didn't want to use his last name.

Richard said he started using cocaine when he was 17 and used for nearly 20 years. He’s been clean for 27 years after getting help from Cocaine Anonymous.

Now, he's the chairman of the Northeast Ohio Cocaine Anonymous chapter, where he helps addicts to recover.

The numbers in Lorain County tell the story.

In 2008, one person died from a cocaine overdose.

Just last year, that number shot up to 56.

Richard said there's a misconception that cocaine isn't as deadly as heroin, but it could cost an addict their life.

"It could cause a heart attack, if you do enough of it you can get cocaine psychosis. It can ruin your health down, where if you get the flu or something, then the flu kills you because your body is so weak,” Richard said.

Thirty-four people have already died from cocaine and cocaine mixed with fentanyl this year in Lorain County.

72 people have died from cocaine and cocaine mixed with fentanyl in Cuyahoga County this year.

Anyone who wants help can call Cocaine Anonymous at 216-220-9899.