Jul 26, 2014
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Meth Production, Heroin Use on the Rise in Cuyahoga Falls

Cuyahoga Falls Police Lt. Steve Guldeman offered statistics regarding drug activity in the city spanning 2010 to 2012.

Meth Production, Heroin Use on the Rise in Cuyahoga Falls

Lt. Steve Guldeman, of the Cuyahoga Falls Police Narcotics Unit, provided the following statistics regarding the city's drug activity, and it may raise some eyebrows among residents.

According to Guldeman's data, 17 suspected heroin overdoses were reported in 2012, which was the combined total for 2010 and 2011.

After a decline in various pill overdoses (from 42 in 2010 to 32 in 2011), 2012 saw a spike to 45 overdoses, or a 41% increase.

Methamphetamine lab busts tripled, from 6 to 19, in 2012 over 2011. Also, the number of people charged in connection with the drug labs almost quadrupled from 11 to 40, or a 264% increase.

In addition, three people died from drug-induced overdoses in 2012 -- two suspected deaths from heroin and one suspected death from Oxycontin -- after none were reported in 2011.

However, Guldeman explained during an interview with Patch that, despite the increases in suspected drug use and drug arrests, it can't be immediately concluded that the city's drug activity is hitting problematically high levels. 

"Our problem is not any different than anywhere else," he said. "We train our officers to recognize meth and heroin regularly, so that they do identify it right away. Some of the meth lab (investigations) come from us knowing how to find it instead of us overlooking it."

Regarding the increase in meth lab busts, Guldeman said, “The process of making (meth) has evolved. Right around the last few years, the process has included red phosphorus and an entirely different method. Now, it’s shifted to a new method where you can mix everything in one pot in order to make the meth, making it somewhat easier.”

He added that meth cooks in the city will typically sell the drug to sustain their habit and to turn a profit, but was unsure how production could fluctuate in 2013 and beyond in light of the easier "one-pot" cooking method. 

The numbers show heroin use has become more prevalent this year, and is most likely more popular among drug users than crack-cocaine. The "upward trend" could be due to heroin's relatively inexpensive price on the street, said Guldeman. 

With pill overdoses, the numbers vary from year to year due to the number of suicide attempts, accidental overdoses, suspected overdoses and false reports that police receive, making it difficult to gauge the level of recreational drug use, he said.

Cuyahoga Falls Drug Activity Statistics (2010-2012) 

2010

10 - Overdoses suspected heroin
42 - Overdoses suspected via various pills
1 - Overdose suspected cocaine
1 - Overdose suspected bath salts
1 - Overdose suspected marijuana
1 - Additional overdose ending in death (suspected heroin)

2011

7 - Overdoses suspected heroin
32 - Overdoses suspected via various pills
1 - Overdose suspected cocaine
1 - Overdose suspected bath salts
1 - Overdose suspected K2
0 - Deaths from overdoses that we know of. (A person could have gone to the
hospital and died sometime later, and police may not have been notified.)

2012

17 - Overdoses suspected heroin
45 - Overdoses suspected via various pills
1 - Overdose suspected cocaine
1 - Overdose suspected meth
3 - Additional overdoses ending in death (2 - suspected heroin, 1 - suspected
Oxycontin)

In 2011, there were six reported meth labs. As a result of the investigations, 11 people were charged in connection with the six labs.

In 2012, there were 19 reported meth labs. As a result of the investigations, 40 people were charged in connection with the labs.

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