Greg McNeil from Cover2 Resources hopes test strips that detect fentanyl in heroin will soon be as available as Narcan and needle exchanges.

Inspired by a similar program in New York City, McNeil is working with the ADAMHS Board of Cuyahoga County to implement a pilot program in the Cleveland area. The strips, which cost around $1, only detect fentanyl but a similar strip to detect carfentanil is in the works.

McNeil joined Jasen to talk about the program.

Published in Jasen Sokol
Friday, 21 April 2017 11:46

Akron Man Sentenced In Fentanyl Death

Derrick Sales, 24, of Akron, was sentenced to eight years in prison Friday for selling the fentanyl that killed a Cuyahoga Falls woman back in June of last year. 

Court documents show that Sales sold the deadly opioid to Sheena Moore who was found dead in her home on June 9, 2016. An autopsy later revealed it was in fact fentanyl that killed her. Sales was arrested a charged with Involuntary Manslaughter, Having a Weapon Under Disability, and Aggravated Trafficking in Fentanyl and Carfentanil, all of which were felonies. He was found guilty in Summit County Common Pleas Court on April 14, 2017. 

In a statement released Friday, Summit County Prosecutor Sherri Bevan Walsh said, “These drugs have devastated our community and these dealers of death need to be held accountable. We will fight every day for people like Sheena Moore. Sheena never had a chance to live her life. Sheena’s grieving family is forced to pick up the pieces because these drug dealers have no regard for the destruction they leave behind.”

Moore was 31-years-old. 

Published in Local

A bill passed by the Ohio Senate this week would lead to harsher sentences for fentanyl traffickers.

Senate Bill 1, sponsored by State Sen. Frank LaRose (R-Hudson), lowers the amount of fentanyl for which someone can be charged with felony trafficking. Under current law, LaRose says a trafficker has to have enough heroin to kill 10,000 people before they can be charged with a felony. Fentanyl is frequently being mixed with heroin, creating a much more deadly concoction than straight heroin. The bill now moves to the General Assembly.

LaRose joined Jasen to talk about the bill and his proposal for congressional redistricting reform.

Published in Jasen Sokol
Wednesday, 04 January 2017 11:50

Record Increase In Summit Co. OD Deaths

Summit County officials estimate that 2016 was a record-setting year for the number of drug overdose deaths in the county. 

Tests are still being conducted, and won't be completed until Spring, 2017, but officials estimate the total number of overdose deaths is somewhere between 225 and 250 for 2016. That would be an 11.3% increase over 2015, according to officials. 

Dr. Margo Erme with Summit County Public Health says, while the numbers are not surprising, there needs to be concentrated effort from health officials, law enforcement, and the public. "There is no one solution," Erme says. "We did not get to the situation overnight and it's multifactorial as to how we got here, so there is not going to be a single fix. 

Dr. Erme notes the number of visits to Summit County emergency departments that were attributed to drug overdoses was about 2,423. She says that has a lot to do with the prevalence of more deadly drugs, including fentanyl and carfental. 

Published in Local
Friday, 14 October 2016 16:56

Barberton Police Seize Drugs In Bust

Barberton police say they've made a drug bust at a home on 5th Street Northeast.

Police say they served a search warrant at about 4:30 on Thursday afternoon, and seized fentanyl, diazepam and other drug instruments and counterfeit cash.

45 year-old David Gumm of the 5th Street Northeast home, and 36 year-old Brian Segedy of Barberton, both face felony drug possession charges.

Both were booked into the Summit County Jail.

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(Barberton Police Department, news release) Friday, October 14,2016 - At approximately 4:30 pm yesterday, the Barberton Police Department SWAT Team along with Barberton Narcotics Detectives conducted a search warrant of a resident at 233 5 ST NE in the City of Barberton. Investigators seized Fentanyl, Diazepam tablets, numerous syringes and other drug instruments and counterfeit U.S. Currency.

David P. Gumm, 45, of 233 5 ST NE was charged with Possession of Drugs-Fentanyl, a felony of the 4th degree, and Possession of Criminal Tools, a misdemeanor of the 1st degree.

Brian Segedy, 36, of Barberton was charged with Possession of Drugs-Fentanyl, a felony of the 4th degree, Possession of Drugs-Fentanyl, a felony of the 4th degree, Possession of Drugs-Diazepam, a misdemeanor of the 2nd degree and Possession of Criminal Tools, a misdemeanor of the 1st degree.

Both subjects are being held in the Summit County Jail.

Published in Local
Thursday, 13 October 2016 16:56

Akron Man Indicted In Fentanyl Death

An Akron man has been indicted for selling fentanyl linked to a fatal overdose.

The U.S. Attorney's Office Northern Ohio says 31 year-old Steven Daniels was indicted in federal court on charges of possessing fentanyl with intent to distribute.

Prosecutors say Daniels allegedly sold the drug that caused an overdose of an Akron man in April.

(U.S. Attorney's Office, news release) An Akron man was indicted in federal court for selling fentanyl that caused a fatal overdose earlier this year, law enforcement officials said.

Steven D. Daniels, 31, was indicted on one count each of possession with intent to distribute fentanyl and distribution of fentanyl. The latter carries a sentencing enhancement because Daniels allegedly sold fentanyl that caused the fatal overdose of a person identified in the indictment as T.B. That took place on April 2 in Akron, according to the indictment.

This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Henry F. DeBaggis following an investigation by the Akron Police Department and Drug Enforcement Administration.

If convicted, the defendant's sentence will be determined by the court after a review of the federal sentencing guidelines and factors unique to the case, including the defendant's prior criminal record (if any), the defendant's role in the offense and the characteristics of the violation.

An indictment is only a charge and is not evidence of guilt. A defendant is entitled to a fair trial in which it will be the government's burden to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

Published in Local
Tuesday, 04 October 2016 06:11

Akron Husband Charged In Wife's Overdose

Robert Tepper, 54, of Akron is facing charges that he provided the deadly dose of fentanyl that killed his wife.

Back on April 3, 2016 Tepper called 911 to report his wife, 52-year-old Karen Tepper, was unresponsive in their home on Moon Street in Akron.

EMS arrived and shortly after pronounced Karen Tepper dead on the scene. Robert admitted to buying the drugs and giving them to his wife.

Tepper is charged with involuntary manslaughter and corrupting another with drugs; both felonies. 

Published in Local
Tuesday, 06 September 2016 17:05

Bill Aims To Close Carfentanil Loophole

A new proposed law hopes to plug a loophole that brings in the powerful drugs fentanyl and carfentanil into the U.S...which have laced heroin in Akron and other cities in Ohio.

Sen. Rob Portman's bill would require foreign shippers to provide electronic data in advance when using the U.S. postal system.

"Information would include who and where it's coming from, who its going to, where it's going, what's in it," Sen. Portman told reporters in a late Tuesday afternoon conference call. "This information I think would make it much less likely that these chemists who are pushing this poison would use the mail system as they do know."

Sen. Portman tells reporters that using the U.S. mail system allows shippers in countries like China and India to get around standards that already exist for private carriers,

He says it would will help U.S. customs agents go after possibly illegal shipments that could end up here.

Portman plans to introduce the proposed legislation this week.

Published in Local
Thursday, 25 August 2016 11:42

Day Four: ODH Show Hike In Overdoses

The Ohio Department of Health has released their Unintentional Drug Overdose report for 2015, revealing a sharp increase in the number of fenatanyl-related deaths since 2013.

We are certainly no stranger to fentanyl-related overdoses, as locally in Summit County the number of overdoses reported to local emergency rooms have skyrocketed this year, most notably in June and July. 

The Department of Health report indicates the number of fenatanyl-related deaths in the state rose more than doubled between 2014 and 2015. Meanwhile, overall drug overdose deaths rose from 2531 in 2014 to 3040 last year.

See the full report below: 

(Columbus, OH) - The number of unintentional drug overdose deaths in Ohio increased again in 2015, driven by a sharp rise in fentanyl-related deaths, according to a new report released by the Ohio Department of Health (ODH). The number of fentanyl-related deaths in Ohio has increased from 84 in 2013, to 503 in 2014 and rose to 1,155 in 2015. Overall, drug overdose deaths in Ohio increased from 2,531 in 2014 to 3,050 in 2015. 

The report also dramatically demonstrates the rapidly changing nature of the battle against drug abuse.  As the state has worked with physicians to curb prescription opiate abuse, the number of prescription opiate overdose deaths have begun to level off.

“Ohio was one of the first states to see the rise of fentanyl over the past couple of years, as the opiate epidemic continues to evolve to more powerful drugs,” said Dr. Mark Hurst, medical director of the Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services. “We knew when we started this battle five years ago that progress wouldn’t be easy, but we are well prepared to stay on the leading edge of fighting this epidemic thanks to the multi-faceted strategies we have put into place.”

Fentanyl is a powerful synthetic narcotic that is estimated to be 30 to 50 times more potent than heroin, and 50 to 100 times more potent than morphine. The vast majority of fentanyl reports by law enforcement in drug seizures result from illegally produced and trafficked fentanyl, not diverted prescription fentanyl.


Last fall, Ohio requested assistance from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to help better understand the increase in fentanyl-related deaths. CDC issued a report that provided insight into fentanyl-related overdose deaths in Ohio, and also noted that “the state has launched a comprehensive response” to address the issue.

The use of naloxone, the opiate reversal drug, has been vital to saving lives and that is why Ohio has increased funding to purchase naloxone for first responders through local health departments. In 2015, Ohio EMS personnel administered 19,782 doses of naloxone – 7,207 more doses than in 2013. More than one dose of naloxone may have been administered to a single patient to reverse the opiate overdose.

A targeted campaign to raise awareness about the signs of a drug overdose was launched in May to urge family members and friends of people who use drugs to obtain naloxone to administer during an overdose while waiting on first-responders to arrive. The campaign focuses on 15 Ohio counties that accounted for 80 percent of the state’s fentanyl-related overdose deaths in 2014. 

“In the midst of this growing opiate epidemic, we are seeing positive indications that our aggressive efforts are working to reduce opioid prescription pain medications available for abuse,” said ODH Medical Director Dr. Mary DiOrio “There were 81 million fewer opioid doses dispensed to Ohio patients since the state took initiatives to curb opiates, and the number of people who try to get controlled substances from multiple doctors has dramatically decreased. Also, the percentage of prescription opioid-related deaths compared to all unintentional overdose deaths declined in Ohio for the fourth straight year.”

DiOrio attributes the decline in the number of opiates dispensed to Ohio patients with efforts to reduce the prescription pill supply, increased law enforcement efforts, empowering prescribers and pharmacists to use Ohio’s prescription drug monitoring system, the Ohio Automated Rx Reporting System, and working with medical professionals to establish opioid prescribing guidelines for healthcare professionals who treat chronic pain and acute pain.

“The state has been very aggressive in implementing new strategies to strengthen Ohio’s fight against opiates, but we are reminded today of the difficult road ahead as the epidemic evolves at a rapid pace,” said Andrea Boxill, the coordinator of the Governor’s Cabinet Opiate Action Team and deputy director of the Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services. “In the face of the continued rise in drug overdoses, we believe that Ohio has one of the most comprehensive approaches in the nation to combatting opiate abuse and drug overdoses, and we will continue to evolve our efforts to address the changes that we are seeing in the drug market.”

A summary of the 2015 Ohio Drug Overdose Report is available here, and the full report is available here. A list of new strategies to combat the opiate epidemic, including fentanyl, is available here. A detailed list of Ohio’s past and ongoing efforts tackling the supply of drugs, preventing drug abuse before it starts, treating those who fall prey to drug addiction, and reversing drug overdoses with naloxone is available here.

Published in Local

17 overdoses and one death in one day have city and county officials reacting to Akron's heroin epidemic.

Akron mayor Dan Horrigan says the problem can't just be solved by arresting people.

"We must realize while our first responders continue to bear the brunt of this epidemic," Horrigan told reporters at a news conference at the Summit County Public Health Department, "this is long past moved into the public health crisis, and away from a public safety crisis that afflicts many communities across our state and across our country."

And Akron police chief James Nice, his department investigating what happened Tuesday and any link between the cases, says the epidemic will continue while the supply keeps coming in...which nothing that local police can stop...

"But as long as the supply is coming in so strong from Mexico, which the Akron Police Department is not able to do much from it coming into the country," Chief Nice says, "we're going to have problems with heroin as long as it coming into the country so easily."

The overdoses happened in the afternoon and evening hours in various parts of Akron.

A 44 year-old man died, and among those who survived were a mother and two adult daughters, who all overdosed at the same time.

Most survived thanks to the anti-heroin drug. Narcan, but police say that the heroin may have been laced with fentanyl...which is more resistant to Narcan.

As of early Wednesday afternoon, two more overdoses have been reported.

Published in Local
Wednesday, 01 June 2016 17:46

Feds Indict Akron Fentanyl Dealer

A 27-year old Akron man is the latest casualty of the war on heroin and fentanyl, but a casualty still alive andindicted by a federal grand jury on charges he supplied the fatal does of fentanyl that killed a drug user identified as "J.H." by the U.S. Attorney for Northern Ohio last September. Jurmaine Jeffries faces two counts in the indictment with an extra sentencing penalty because the drug overdose led to a death, said Acting U.S. Attorney Carole Rendon.

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(U.S. Attorney) An Akron man was indicted on federal charges for distributing fentanyl that caused the death of a person in last fall, said Carole Rendon, Acting U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Ohio.

Jurmaine A. Jeffries, 27, was named in the two-count indictment. He is charged with distribution of fentanyl and possession with intent to distribute fentanyl. The indictment also seeks a sentencing enhancement because the fentanyl Jeffries sold resulted in the death on Sept. 16, 2015, of a person identified as J.H. in Akron, according to the indictment.

"We will continue to work to educate the public on the dangers of opioids and get help for those who want it," Rendon said. "We will also aggressively prosecute those who sell heroin and fentanyl, which have caused so much pain and death in our community."

This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Linda K. Barr following an investigation by the Drug Enforcement Administration.

If convicted, the defendant's sentence will be determined by the court after review of factors unique to this case, including the defendant's prior criminal records, if any, the Defendant's role in the offenses and the unique characteristics of the violations. In all cases, the sentence will not exceed the statutory maximum and in most cases it will be less than the maximum.

An indictment is only a charge and is not evidence of guilt. A defendant is entitled to a fair trial in which it will be the government's burden to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

Published in Local
Wednesday, 23 March 2016 17:36

Summit Studying CDC Opiate Report

A new report from the Centers for Disease Control spotlights drug OD's in Ohio -- in particular the epidemic of opiate abuse.

In just one year fentanyl deaths jumped from 84 -- to 502, and that number is from 2014. That makes Fentanyl more potent than smack.

In Summit County, the Department of Public Health says the agency already works together with other partners to deal with the growth of opiate abuse here.

Medical director Dr. Margo Erme says they'll go over the report to see what else can be done.

"We'll take some time to look over the suggestions, to see what we're already doing, what we can improve upon," Dr. Erme tells WAKR.net, "and what we may be able to initiate with our partners."

Dr. Erme says Summit County has a "strong community" dedicated to working on the abuse problem.

One project already underway is "Project Dawn", which provides opiate reversal mediation to users, friends and families of those at risk for overdoses.

Published in Local

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