Lucas Co. sheriff to treat heroin deaths as homicide as cases sp - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Lucas Co. sheriff to treat heroin deaths as homicide as cases spike

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LUCAS COUNTY, OH (Toledo News Now) -

The Lucas County Sheriff's Office released startling statistics recently regarding heroin abuse.

Officials say four years ago, there were only eight overdose deaths in Lucas County. Last year that number jumped to 80, and this year as of May, there were already 60. 

Lucas County Sheriff John Tharp says the sheriff's office is ready to tackle this problem head-on. They will now start treating overdose deaths as homicides, and go after the dealers with murder charges.

The sheriff has just dedicated three full-time and one part-time detective to taking on heroin overdose cases. Those detectives will start investigating overdoses as homicides.

While new for the county, this tactic isn't unheard of. Just last month, a Wood County woman, Tricia Miller, was charged with involuntary manslaughter after police say she supplied heroin to Daniel Patton, which ultimately killed him.

"Law enforcement agents are fact-finders," Tharp said. "We will get the facts. We'll do the who, what, when, where and how and turn that over to Prosecutor Julia Bates' office and go from there."

Some of the areas hit hardest by heroin in Lucas County fall in the zip code 43612, which is in north Toledo.  That area has had 87 heroin incidents over the past year.  The central Toledo area under the zip code 43624 is also a hot bed for heroin.

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