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1. Lorain County sees rash of overdoses

The record-setting pace of fatal overdoses in Lorain County continued in 2013.

At least 65 occurred from heroin, prescription pills, or both, through Dec. 22, according to Dr. Stephen Evans, Lorain County coroner. In 2012, there were 60 deaths, compared to 22 in 2011 and 22 in 2010. Total overdoses were expected to double from approximately 2,000 last year, according to Herb de la Porte, LifeCare Ambulance vice president.

The spike in deaths resembles a state and national trend. Overdoses are the top cause of injury deaths in Ohio since 2007 as addicts who can’t afford prescription painkillers or don’t have access to them use cheaper heroin.

Efforts to decrease deaths include a pilot program in the county in which police use Narcan, a nasal spray that revives those suffering from overdoses, if used promptly. Addicts in 15 out of 18 instances through November, were revived, according to Elaine Georgas, county Alcohol and Drug Addiction Services Board executive director.

Anti-drug activists hope this year’s expansion of Medicaid in Ohio will lead to more treatment. Two clinics that prescribe Suboxone opened this year in the county. Suboxone is the brand name for buprenorphine and naxolone - synthetic opioids designed to block opiate cravings.

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