The scale of the heroin epidemic in Marion County Ohio has been growing in recent years leaving an unprecedented level of human destruction in its wake. Now, there is a new form of heroin reaching the streets of Marion that is making an already dangerous drug even more deadly. In recent months, an average of four overdoses a day were occurring in a county of some 65,000 people.
It’s called blue drop heroin. This particularly potent form of heroin is laced with fentanyl, giving the heroin a bluish tint. Fentanyl is a powerful pain killer that experts say is 30 to 50 times more powerful than heroin and is often given to patients with cancer. Combining the two drugs is a recipe for disaster. But, the increased potency is what attracts users, and users will pay almost twice the price for normal heroin for a half-gram bag of blue drip heroin. “It’s not uncommon if there’s a heroin overdose that heroin addicts would seek the location and purchase that heroin because they have the mindset that that was probably a very potent version of the drug,” a Drug Enforcement Administration spokesman said.
Since May 20, there have been 32 overdoes in Marion and two deaths from the fentanyl laced heroin. Marion’s Fire Department had to ask the Ohio Department of Health to send more narcane, the drug used to treat opioid overdoses, because first responders were running low. Officials are trying to attack the source of the heroin locally but acknowledged it is an uphill battle with heroin flowing in from, most likely, Chicago and then being funneled throughout the county. Despite the difficulty, Marion has had some success in the fight to get blue drop heroin off the street. Police arrested 11 people last week thought to be selling the heroin throughout Marion. Yesterday, acting on intelligence likely gathered from the first wave of arrests, the police announced the arrest of 32 year old Eric Creagh who they believe was the main supplier in the county. The effort to locate the supplier was almost unprecedented bringing together members of local, state, and federal law enforcement in a race to get this dangerous drug off the streets.
In Ohio, heroin offenses are sentenced based on a variety of different factors and people may be surprised at how stiff the penalties are for possessing or selling even small quantities of the drug. Selling heroin is a felony of the third degree if the amount involved in the transaction is more than 5 grams but less than 10 grams and is punishable by 1 to 5 years in prison and up to $10,000 in fines. If the transaction took place near a school, the charge automatically becomes a felony of the second degree and is punishable by 2 to 8 years in prison and up to $15,000 in fines. Possession of heroin is sentenced in largely the same way. However, for first time offenders arrested with small quantities of heroin, treatment programs may be available in lieu of conviction.
If you need a lawyer for a criminal or Federal case, call Attorney W. Joseph Edwards (614-309-0243) who has over 25 years experience representing clients in these legal matters.