© 2021 WOSU Public Media
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
Available On Air Stations
News

Hamilton County Offering Immunity In Bid To Get Heroin Off The Streets

Hamilton County law enforcement officials Wednesday in Judge Robert Ruehlman's courtroom asking for an immunity agreement.
Hamilton County law enforcement officials Wednesday in Judge Robert Ruehlman's courtroom asking for an immunity agreement.

Hamilton County law enforcement officials are trying something new to curb the recent spike in heroin overdoses. 

Prosecutor Joe Deters and other county officials Wednesday asked a judge to grant immunity for people who turn the drug in to police.

"It's the family members, the people who are about the addict, who can really intervene and not be worried about prosecution," says Deters.

Judge Robert Ruehlman granted the request.

Southwest Ohio has seen a dramatic increase in heroin overdoses and deaths. Nearly 300 overdoses have been reported since Aug. 19.

The immunity deal aims to get family and friends to come forward if they find drugs, but applies to anyone. Police will offer help finding treatment, though the region's resources are strained by the recent increase.

It's believed to be related to the drug being mixed with the powerful animal sedative carfentanil. Coroner Lakshmi Sammarco says it takes less than the size of a snowflake to kill a person.

Deters says law enforcement are doing everything the can to stop the flow of the tainted heroin.

"We've been told by Sen. (Rob) Portman's office that the DEA - they think it's coming in through mail from China - they can't let their drug dogs smell the envelopes and boxes because this stuff is so deadly it kills the dogs."

Copyright 2021 91.7 WVXU. To see more, visit 91.7 WVXU.