Mansfield sees seven overdoses – one fatal – so far this year

MANSFIELD — Seven overdoses since the first of the year grabbed city police Lt. Ken Coontz’s attention.

“It just shows how heroin has really resurfaced in our community,” the METRICH Enforcement Unit commander said. “It pretty much went by the wayside for a few years, but it’s back with a vengeance.”

The city’s number of overdoses is out of whack.

“We’re already at 20 percent of all of last year,” police Chief Dino Sgambellone said. “Heroin is always dangerous. When you see a spike in overdoses related to heroin, there’s always a concern that there may be an issue in the local drug market, whether it’s particularly potent or it’s mixed with something that’s causing the overdoses.”

Only one of those overdoses, however, has been fatal. Randi Murnahan, 24, died Feb. 8 after an incident at 154 W. Second St. She was pronounced dead at MedCentral/Mansfield Hospital.

Joe Trolian, director of the Richland County Mental Health and Recovery Services Board, said his biggest concern is the number of drug-addicted people who are not getting help.

“It becomes very, very difficult to address the issues when you can’t get people to come through the door,” Trolian said. “All we can do is make sure our services are available when people need them.”

Sgambellone said most of the local overdoses involve heroin, pharmaceuticals or a combination of the two.

Coontz added the opiates are virtually interchangeable to the user.

“The pills are extremely expensive,” he said. “(Users) eventually can’t afford it, and they switch over to heroin.”

The METRICH commander said pills typically cost $1 per milligram.

“You can get a half-gram of heroin for $75 and make that stretch out,” Coontz said.

A balloon of heroin goes for $10 to $40, Coontz said, adding a balloon is not what people might think. A balloon is about the size of a pencil’s eraser.

METRICH is trying to combat the problem by targeting suppliers.

“You have to balance that with education,” Coontz said. “We need to address the addiction itself. I’m not sure we have as many resources in the rehab area as we should.”

While the city is struggling with overdoses, the county actually saw a decrease in fatal ODs last year. According to information from Richland County Coroner Stewart Ryckman, the county saw six fatal overdoses in 2012. Of those, two were caused by heroin, three by Oxycontin and one by morphine. Total overdoses for the county were not available.

The numbers of fatal overdoses in the county are down from 2009 (20), 2010 (17) and 2011 (17).

Still, Trolian said, the cases don’t have to go that far.

“I would like to see people reach out for help before it gets to that point,” he said.

mcaudill@gannett.com 419-521-7219 Twitter: @MNJCaudill

METRICH recovered a shoe box with heroin needles from a raid.

METRICH recovered a shoe box with heroin needles from a raid.  /  Submitted photo

Written by
Mark Caudill
News Journal

20 Comments: Some I agree with more…

  • Peggy Goldberg · Top Commenter · Ships Captain at Maersk Line Shipping Company

    if they can barely afford the drugs how are they suppose to pay for doctors? long term help isn’t free, if you don’t have money or insurance your out of luck period.
  • Sonya Wadsworth Hinklin · Top Commenter

    the docs in mansfield that treat this are a cash only business….who can afford $200 for doc visit and another $400 something for a prescription…I can see why these ppl dont go for help …..I think these docs need to take insurance and more ppl would turn for help
    Reply 2
  • Brittany Riggleman · Bartender/ Server at Country Club of Ashland

    If   you are wanting people to stop using drugs and get help than that help needs to be affordable. Why do you think there is such a problem with drugs, as you said people can’t afford the pills so obviously they can’t afford expensive treatment. The community needs to pull together and help these people get help!
  • Dale Rhoads · Top Commenter · Fort Worth, Texas

    Just six fatals is six too many! It doesn’t help when you read in the paper a person gets probation for drug trafficking or aggravated drug trafficking! You’d think that people would be mad enough that our most precious resource are going to drugs that these scum would get maximum incarceration. Metrich works their butts off to get these idiots (dealers) off the streets and from there it’s like a revolving door! It would also help if they were properly funded also! Where are the alleged friends of these addicts? The enablers that keep making excuses for their voluntary misconduct. A true friend would tell that person what he or she needs to hear. A true friend would tell Metrich where the addict is getting their supply! Yes the community needs to come together. They need to realize enough is enough and start taking back their community instead of burying their head in the sand!  CITY FATHERS! YOU LISTENING? I DOUBT IT!
    Reply · 3· Dale Rhoads gets 2 thumbs up!  

    · 12 hours ago

    • Mary Sevits Benedict · Top Commenter · Malabar High School

      Agreed.   Herion has been in this town for a few years do you not remember Mansfield being on Oprah Winfrey show yeah that was a few years ago and what about Percocett 30s so many people are using its ridiculous . What about the lady found at a cairns rd , resident the other day was that not a fatal over dose as well they said they found dead  her with a syringe filled with a brown liquid . that is 2 deaths in what ? A few days
      Reply·

      · 9 hours ago

  • Dale Rhoads · Top Commenter · Fort Worth, Texas

    Case in point!
    Eddie B. Noble, 47, 806 Lexington Ave., 18 months probation, a $500 fine and $810 in restitution for trafficking in drugs (two counts) Two others get prison for mere possession!   Don’t you just love it?. I bet the guy probably went before the pill popping Judge – lol!
  • Dawn Marschat Holmes

    Hmm..I find this article interesting…So JUST NOW the city’s law enforcement are noticing heroine is a major problem for Mansfield and surrounding area’s?  Get outta here with that nonsense.  Perhaps if the city would bring in some decent paying jobs, people wouldn’t feel so hopeless, and give up on everything they have going for them. People just give up when they feel like they can’t afford to live! The community also should provide resources for citizens to get the help they need.  IE: MEDICAL CARE! If there is nothing to look up for, people will eventually look down!
    Reply · 1· Nail on the head?.

    · 12 hours ago

    • Rachel Lynn · Mansfield, Ohio

      Come on now Nancy, don’t make excuses for turning to drugs.. It’s sad but true, but also a selfish choice.
      Reply · 2·

      · 11 hours ago

    • Dale Rhoads · Top Commenter · Fort Worth, Texas

      Dawn Marschat Holmes; All law enforcement in the area has been well aware of it for years! They have tried and tried to make more people (government leaders) aware of it but it fell on deaf ears. This came to light to us in the 90s but no one listened. Lack of jobs in the last 4-5 years has increased it’s use, but it was pretty prevelent way before 2007! Theere are no valid reasons for being addicted to heroin, just pathetic excuses.
      Reply · 2·  You go Dale~

      · 11 hours ago

    • SV Menelvagor · Wilmington Island, Georgia

      I’m seeing words like “choice” and “no valid reason” and I have to disagree to a point.  Yes of course there are users who are in it for the party, but there are a surprising amount of users who end up addicted and turning to heroin as a direct result of a flawed medical system all around. The article specifically points out that opiates and heroin are interchangeable, heroin being significantly cheaper. Opiates are most commonly pain killers of some sort, and to often over worked doctors just throw pills at severe injuries with very little follow up. There is lack of communication within specialties also, and insurances commonly do not cover other alternative means to pain management. It literally would be totally feasible for someones grandma to break her hip, not be able to financially cover herself, and end up a Junkie with …See More
      Reply · 1·

      · 10 hours ago

    • Dale Rhoads · Top Commenter · Fort Worth, Texas

      My grandmother had hip replacement and didn’t become addicted. I’ve seen many people with hip and knee replacement and didn’t become addicted. I’ve had 4 knee surgies (3 scopes and 1 ACL and MCL replacement) 2 back surgeries and sinus recontruction. I didn’t become addicted and was off all pain meds with in a month after the major knee surgery, 2 weeks after the back surgery. I take plain tylenol or ibuprofen every so often now. Many more people I know are like me. So what’s the difference? Some insurance will cover pain meds for so long and with good reason. As evidenced in the article.
      Reply·

      · 9 hours ago

    • SV Menelvagor · Wilmington Island, Georgia

      Hurray for you. The point is that not every situation is the same. Very glad it worked out for you every time, but that does not mean it does for everyone. The heroin problem can’t be solved without addressing all of the reasons for addiction, and not just the folks who are partying.
      Reply·

      · 7 hours ago

    • Robert L. Eichof · Top Commenter

      Wow Dale, you must really be special!  I am so impressed that you know everything about…………….well.……………everything.  Must be a heavy load to carry with all those surgeries and all.
      Reply·

      · about an hour ago

  • Kevin Lambert · Top Commenter · Malabar High School

    just give em all the dope they can do and in 30 days they will all be gone, no more problem
  • Chris Glass · Driver/Inventory at WIS International

    People who are posting about treatment being to expensive……TRUE it is expensive, so I just want to give some advice to Veterans……..The VA has a program called VARC (Veterans Recovery Center) located across the street from the Cleveland VA hospital, it is FREE!! It is a 30 day in-house program, for drugs & alcohol addiction (I went for alcohol). Best move I ever made!!! Clean facility (Only 2 years old). GREAT classes with even Greater Counselors!! They will even put you in the homeless program if needed. The place is literally like a 5 star hotel!! The waiting list isn’t too bad. Just call your local VA & tell them you are interested in their VARC program for whatever addiction you have (including homelessness. PLEASE take advantage of this great program, it WORKS, I have been sober since Aug. 2nd!!!
  • Jamie Williams

    Heroin hasn’t resurfaced, it never went anywhere and abuse of pain pills is even more ridiculous. There are NO excuses good enough for anyone to be an addict. Period. We ALL know drugs are bad and unless you are getting stuck while being handcuffed and bound, it is chosen at that moment. I have no sympathy for an addict. I have sympathy for their children, their family, friends and even employers. I have sympathy for an addict who is actively  struggling every single day. Making strides for themselves. Saying no even when they remember the feeling and often times with no support system because they have let a drug totally abandon it.  We all have problems, issues,abuse, a past, and people in it who were vial. Get over it. Change it. Stop making excuses and loopholes. Send the traffickers to prison for a serious extended time and send the abusers to jail or a facility, then offer help. It is exhausting dealing with an addict of any sort, it isn’t just the addict that suffers. The system is flawed from the top down and really needs a complete over haul. More education, not just the fifth grade D.A.R.E program, is the key and let it get ugly and real. Chances are at least one kid in that class being taught has been affected  and may be saved in many ways.
  • Rita Adams · Top Commenter

    Theese people have kid s also ..wich makes them not seek help in fear children services will get involved .the courts should order storger rehab and work a program with area agencies that can help the family as a whole kids to because they become what they are taught!!! Probation is nothing they dont even monitor theese people like they are spoused to its just all about the money ..!!
  • Anthony Hammond

    This town is hopeless… and things are bad for a lot of people right now, but thats no excuse to use a hard drug like heroin. I wish they would just legalize marijuana and all this abuse of prescription pills and other narcotics will probably decrease.. still dont understand why its still illegal in the first place. Alcohol makes u dumb and happy and thats what the government wants. There are more beer ads then there is education ads, its saddening. Mary J slows everything down, it makes u more alert, and open to new ideas, etc.. and thats why its still illegal, because the government doesnt want the average Joe to open their eyes to what actually is taking place in this nation
    Reply·  I do agree the government doesn’t want the average Joe to open their eyes, but don’t you think marajuana was the problem in the last election?. I don’t believe it’s as much about the eyes as it is using your brains, and a lot of folks in the last election surely did not.
  •  (we believe).

    · about an hour ago

    • Robert L. Eichof · Top Commenter

      I agree that may be a reasonable solution Anthony, but you may pay a heavy price for the suggestion here.
      Reply·

      · about an hour ago

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