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Drugs continue to wreck havoc on lives

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There remains no shortage of drug addicts locally or anywhere and, statistically, more of them are overdosing than ever before, even as law enforcement ramps up enforcement efforts that recently netted the arrest of a primary cocaine dealer.

According to a report issued April 26 from the Ohio Department of Health based on 2011 data, unintentional drug overdoses have increased 440 percent since 1999 when 327 accidental overdoses were recorded. That number swelled to 1,765 by 2011, according to ODH figures.

According to Logan County death records, there were eight accidental drug overdoses recorded in 2012.

Of those accidental overdoses, four death records specifically listed heroin as a contributing factor. Others listed “multiple drug intoxication,” as a cause of death. Popular prescription narcotics including morphine and oxycodone also appear as a contributing factor in at least one accidental overdose.

There were five drug overdoses in 2011, all of which were listed as suicides.

“Unintentional drug overdose continues to be the leading cause of injury-related deaths in Ohio, ahead of motor vehicle traffic crashes, suicide and falls,” the ODH report reads. “This trend began in 2007 and continues through 2011.”

There were more accidental overdoses in Logan County in 2012 (eight) than traffic fatalities (six).  

The ODH report cites abuse of pain medications and multiple drug use as the largest contributors to the spike in overdoses. Every recorded local accidental drug overdose in 2012 involved an opioid — prescription medication or heroin. Statewide figures indicate that about two-thirds of all accidental overdoses involve either heroin or painkillers.

The Logan County Joint Drug Task Force kept up its efforts to stem the flow of drugs into the county.

Heroin interdiction stretched the limited resources, but detectives knew they had to renew efforts to fight cocaine and crack cocaine.

In the past year, they were able to scrutinize Marcus A. Hagans’ activities and the task force’s efforts paid off with the major supplier’s arrest in late November.

The 26-year-old Springfield resident, known on the streets as “BeBe,” was arrested by the Springfield Narcotics Unit during a traffic stop.

Springfield authorities were acting on information provided by the local detectives.

Crack cocaine, a loaded firearm, ammunition and various drug trafficking instruments were seized during a search of his 1628 Edwards Ave. residence.

At the time of the traffic stop, the suspect was in possession of $2,400 which was seized along with his 2007 Chevy Tahoe.

He was charged with first-degree felonies for possession of crack cocaine, trafficking crack cocaine and two fifth-degree felony counts of trafficking crack cocaine.

The Logan County Prosecutor’s Office continues to review the case and may seek more charges in the new year.

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