Heroin continues to be a problem in the state and across the country. Akron's police chief has decided to tackle the growing problem by forming a unit targeting heroin dealers for possible murders charges in cases of fatal overdoses.
Police Chief James Nice says the department has worked to track high level dealers - those involved with large amounts of drugs - but now they're also coming after the low level dealers that are directly handing the drugs to the users.
"People are dying weekly from heroin overdoses. It's outrageous. It's unlike some of the other drug problems we've had," said Nice.
Nice said low level dealers barely get any jail time for carrying a small amount of drugs, but he believes they should hold some responsibility in cases of fatal overdoses.
"These people, to me, are the most egregious people that are convincing people to use heroin, giving it to them and they're dead an hour later," said Nice. "Nothing is being done with those."
Nice said the department is working to build homicide cases against the dealers. He said they currently have one case pending, but details of the case were not released.
Nice is working to convince state lawmakers to consider the importance of having tougher laws against dealers in fatal overdose cases. He said
"Those are things as a chief that I can speak out on and have word on, but the laws need to change significantly."
The new heroin unit will consist of two detectives that will have a primary mission to focus on heroin overdose investigations and to track the dealers involved in the case.