(CBS) – In Lake County, Ind., the number of heroin deaths rivals the number of homicides so far this year.
It’s a disturbing trend that officials say is only getting worse, by the day. CBS 2’s Dana Kozlov reports.
“Our numbers are significantly up in the last 47 days,” says Lake County Coroner Merrilee Frey.
To say she’s alarmed about the number of drug deaths this year is an understatement.
Since the beginning of the year, 25 people have died of an overdose in the county, more than half of those from heroin. Frey says fentanyl OD’s are likely a close second.
The spike follows a troubling trend that’s seen heroin deaths steadily rise since 2014. For families who’ve lost someone to the drug the pain is almost unbearable.
“It was terrible. I never envisioned my life like this. I sent a very bright young man away to college who had hopes and dreams,” says Stacy Antich.
Her 25-year-old son, Nick, OD’d after being clean for more than a year. A tattoo of her son’s last note to her is a daily reminder of what heroin’s taken from her family.
“He just wanted to see what it was like,” she says.
Frey believes easy access is one factor in the uptick.
How to stop it? Both Frey and Antich say more blunt education and simple awareness would help in the battle against heroin.
“It doesn’t discriminate,” Antich says.