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Heroin epidemic hitting Ohio hard

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Heroin epidemic is hitting Ohio hard. Heroin epidemic is hitting Ohio hard.
CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) -

The heroin epidemic is sweeping the nation and hitting home here in northeast Ohio.

19 Action News is taking a close look at how the problem has become so big.

One of the biggest problems is that the availability of heroin has increased dramatically.

Experts say it's also much cheaper and more potent than ever before.

The deaths of a 19-year old and a 28-year-old in the Cleveland area are just the latest examples.

Ray Isackila counsels heroin addicts.

"The first time they use heroin it's like they fall in love. They don't feel any pain. Heroin, of course, is a pain medicine on steroids. It's the pain medicine of all pain medicines. It's stronger than morphine," said Ray Isackila of University Hospitals.

In his 30 years treating addiction, he's treated people as young as 18, and as old as 85.

Medication and intensive counseling are needed to overcome the grip of heroin.

And he says it doesn't take much to get hooked.

"Heroin is such a powerfully addictive drug that using it just a time or two is how people get addicted," added Isackila.

Officials say there are as many as 11 fatal heroin overdoses a week in the state.

In Cuyahoga County 195 people died last year, shattering the old mark of 161 deaths back in 2012.

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