Heroin overdoses spike, CDC calls for action

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(CNN) – The number of heroin related overdoses is making headlines across the country. There have been a rash of overdoses in Ohio, Indiana, and West Virginia just in the past few weeks and on Thursday the Centers for Disease Control said urgent action is needed to fight opioid addiction.

The sound of sirens, a soundtrack to a crisis in middle America as the heroin epidemic appears to be getting more dangerous.

“I am very disturbed about it. It really saddens my heart,” said Richard Henson from Cincinnati.

28 overdoses in a West Virginia County, in one night last week. Tuesday, 12 people overdosed in an Indiana community. And in the Cincinnati Ohio area, 36 on Wednesday alone. 90 overdoses since just this weekend, leading to a total of five deaths in those areas.

Authorities believe these particular overdose spikes are due to what they call “bad batches”, heroin laced with other substances. In the Cincinnati cases, they suspect Carfentanil, an elephant tranquilizer. Authorities are struggling to keep up.

“When you have that many overdoses, like yesterday in such a short period of time, it taxes your resources,” said Chad Ward, Cabell County West Virginia EMS.

Last week, the Obama administration announced $17 million in funding aimed at prevention and at stopping the supply of opiates.

The D.E.A. busted a semi-truck in New York this week with more than $2 million worth of heroin stuffed in its axles.

The C.D.C. Thursday calling for urgent public action, releasing a report showing: a sharp increase in opioid-related overdose deaths; an increase in counterfeit prescription pills; and specifically in Ohio and Florida, heroin laced with the strong opioid fentanyl; which is what investigators believe killed the singer, prince earlier this year.

“The substances involved are exactly what addicts are seeking out. It draws like flies to sugar,” said Joe Ciccarell, Huntington, West Virginia Police Chief.

Related Story: Easthampton residents not surprised after recent heroin bust

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