Stemming the tide of drug overdose deaths in Lorain County and nine others across the country is the focus of a new pilot program from the U.S. Attorney General’s office.
Extra resources will be funneled to Lorain County for the next two years to try to crack down on people selling the deadly opioid fentanyl, said U.S. Attorney Justin Herdman. Fentanyl is 50 to 100 times more potent than morphine and is driving the increase in overdose deaths.
Herdman said any case in Lorain County involving fentanyl or other chemically-related drugs will be kicked up from the county to federal prosecutors.
“This is an effort that is based on a model out of Manatee County, Fla., to ensure there were maximum penalties available. And the results out of Manatee County were about an overall droppage in overdose deaths of about 75 percent,” he said.
Lorain defense attorney Jack Bradley said county officials have already been aggressively prosecuting dealers.
“We’ve had a war on drugs in this country for a long, long time. It just cost the taxpayers a lot of money,” he said.
Lorain County has seen an increase in overdose deaths related to fentanyl and its analogs from 13 in 2014 to 94 last year.