Letter from the City of Lyndhurst Chief of Police, Rick Porrello
Overdoses from the powerful opiate drug heroin and its chemical cousins are taking Greater Cleveland lives at an unprecedented level. The synthetic opiate fentanyl is increasingly the villain in these tragic deaths. It is 50 to 100 times stronger than heroin. And if that’s not bad enough, now carfentanil, an anesthetic for very large animals, has appeared on our streets. Carfentanil is 100 times more powerful than fentanyl.
This public health crisis is taking our family members, friends, neighbors and colleagues. And it is at our doorstep. On a Sunday in September, the Hillcrest region experienced four overdoses including two fatalities. In the month of September, the Hillcrest area had 13 overdoses including four heroin-related fatalities, and Cuyahoga County had 54 deaths. Currently it is projected that the county will have 550 heroin-related deaths in 2016.
Addiction may start innocently enough with a prescription for an opiate painkiller to manage pain after a surgical procedure or injury. Once the prescription is gone, heroin is easier and less expensive to obtain. Heroin, fentanyl, and carfentanil are extremely addictive. Just one usage may put an experimenter spiraling into addiction. And still worse, drug dealers are “cutting” heroin with fentanyl and carfentanil to increase profits. Oxycodone pills are being counterfeited and made of fentanyl, which is much more lethal. Most alarming is that users and experimenters are playing Russian roulette because they can’t be sure what actual drug and dose they are putting in their bodies.
What can you do?
Get educated about this tragic public menace and share your knowledge. Learn to recognize the signs of opiate addiction. They may include changes in physical appearance such as weight loss, development of abscesses, sores, scabs, or dark spots on the skin, and tooth decay. Changes in behavior such as unethical or criminal acts, doctor shopping, new and questionable social contacts and secretive conduct may also indicate addiction.
If you are a parent of a teen, talk to him or her about drug abuse and get educated together. Children of parents who discuss drug abuse are 50% less likely to use.
Prevent theft and misuse of unused or leftover prescription pills by properly disposing of them. The Lyndhurst Police Department houses a Cuyahoga County Sheriff’s Office Prescription Drug Drop Box program container. You can safely and easily dispose of your unused or leftover prescription pills 24/7 in this box located inside the Lyndhurst Municipal Center lobby. (No liquids or sharps.)
If you have an opiate-addicted person in your household, consider obtaining the overdose reversal drug nasal Narcan free of charge through Project DAWN (Deaths Avoided With Naloxone). Call them at 216-778-5677.
The Lyndhurst Police Department collaborates with local, state and federal law enforcement agencies in battling drug trafficking and other dangerous drug offenses. Our regional drug investigators reduce illicit drug trafficking and take drugs and weapons off the streets.
If you suspect drug trafficking in your neighborhood, report it to police. For activity in progress, call 9-1-1. To provide information directly to the narcotics unit, you can call Det. Scipione at 440-442-1234, Ext. 124, or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you know somebody who is facing heroin addiction, you can find help by calling the anonymous and confidential Cuyahoga County / Frontline Services 24/7 Crisis Hotline crisis line 216-623-6888.
The City of Lyndhurst and Cleveland Clinic Foundation hosted a forum on the Heroin Crisis on November 16th. We will continue to look for ways to bring awareness and understanding about addiction issues to our residents. Details regarding these programs and initiatives will be announced via our E-news and on our website www.lyndhurst-oh.com.
Chief of Police
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