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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.

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.

jane February 07, 2013 at 07:50 PM
CF's USED to be a nice place to live - not anymore..it's the drug capital of the world.
jane February 07, 2013 at 07:51 PM
Nothing but drunks and drug addicts here now....you couldn't pay me to live in "The Falls".... and I thought Akron was a ghetto/crime ridden !
melissa carte February 08, 2013 at 04:49 AM
This tragedy is everywhere. Unfortunately, the more prominant cities hide it. This creates a perfect hiding place for labs and dealers to push it. Thank you for sharing the stats and your tireless efforts to address this plague. It has hit like a wave... time to push back. This affects everyone. It will take the community to re-claim our families from this darkness.
Ruby Garland February 08, 2013 at 12:55 PM
A. You can't OD on marijuana- lets not be ridiculous. B. To all my friends and family that still live the Falls- GET OUT!
John Tussey February 08, 2013 at 02:25 PM
I cannot understand people's fascination with heroin or meth!! Heroin isn't something to fool around with as its highly addictive and has no real value to even try it. Ask anyone who has tried to come clean from it. Rock stars have dies from it, and those that didnt have struggles to far and stay clean. And only idiots fool with meth. Why would anyone find something fun that will cause you problems in the big picture? It creates an onset of Parkinson's at some point! And they can't hide because they all begin looking like zombies. I think there needs to be a task force or group of credible people to go into the schools and talk to the students about the hazards of heroin, meth & crack! Nothing in life is so bad that anyone should resort to these drugs. They ruin lives, they don't enhance them at all. They create problems and solve none. There area my ways to have fun without heroin, meth & crack. The law needs to really get serious on those using, selling or making these drugs. No slap on the wrists like they have been. People making and selling these are pariahs on society and need taken off the streets!!
melissa carte February 08, 2013 at 04:21 PM
I disagree with the judgements casted on emotionally ill, valuable citizens. Mental health needs are shirked as insignificant in our society. This leaves many vunerable people who are falling prey to a relief for their pain. Until we stop judging, and start problem solving in unity, there will only be an increase of this plague. May God have mercy on us and guide us through this darkness. Peace
wmfr February 08, 2013 at 04:34 PM
Don't overreact. Of course it's a concern but it's everywhere and not just the falls. I actually am happy with our police dept MOST of the time. They are addressing these issues as they come across them and will continue to. The falls is a tiny community compared to akron and we can manage this issue. Biggest problem we are having IMO is that people are selling houses too cheap and forclosures and scumbags are buying them and renting the houses out and of course too much section 8. We need to minimize section 8 and have higher standards for buliding codes, too many plazas that exsist are not being maintained by owners.
bill charles February 08, 2013 at 05:17 PM
Time for Robart to move on. He has taken a family safe community and turned it into a safe haven for meth and heroin users and manufacturers. Great job Mayor.
Nonnie February 17, 2013 at 10:12 PM
Why do we blame everything on Sec 8, is it because its easier than looking at ones self? We are rasing a generation of entitled little arrogant self-absorbed kids who take thier wants as needs & look down at everyone not able to wear the latest label or live in thier income level. They have no clue of life because mom & Dad are working thier butts off to save what they have overspent on already. Kids are left at home to raise themselves & have no concept of respect for others. They bully other kids because...they can. They try to end up at a friends for a real meal & some structure and they get into things they have no business because...they can fit in. We have caused this problem so now we need to take our children back, stress disipline, respect and take away things, replace with time..your time. It does take a village to raise a child & we need to get busy! Kids without a parent need someone to step up because even though you think its not your problem.....do nothing and see how safe you will be one day after they grow up, mean & angry!!
melissa carte February 18, 2013 at 03:37 AM
This drug epidemic knows no preference. Pretending the problem doesn't exist... or preserving appearances, will only prolong and exagerate the damage. Throwing mud loses ground. Many of us have lost loved ones already. No room for deflecting blame my brothers and sisters. This crisis affects ALL of us. It will take unity and compassion to counter it. Peace

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