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D.A.R.T Unit seeing more overdoses, petty crime spreading

Fentanyl (courtesy: NBC24.com).

Toledo, Ohio (WNWO)-- As more deaths related to Fentanyl, DAR UNIT sees the location of crime expanding change.

"We're not using heroin as a term anymore, we're basically saying Fentanyl," said Lieutenant Bobby Chromik of the Lucas County Sheriff’s Office Unit.

For the pasts 3 years, the D.A.R.T. Unit with the Lucas County Sheriff's Office has been at the forefront fighting the war on heroin.

But recently that war has evolved to include a different substance, one 100 times more powerful—Fentanyl.

What makes the synthetic drug so dangerous is the fact it takes less of the drug to make an addict high, making it easier for them to overdose.

Often times, to get the same weight ( as most measure drugs by how heavy they are not considering potency) dealers will mix the drug with other chemicals coming up with deadly combinations called analogs.

"When you're buying it off the street you don't have the FDA, you don't have a physician prescribing, you don't have a legitimate prescription. I mean you don't know what you're getting,” said Dr. Robert Forney of the Lucas County Coroner’s Office.

In 2015 out of the roughly 300 opioid-related deaths the Lucas County Sheriff's office saw no Fentanyl analog deaths.

Last year there were 29 and most of those were in the late part of the year.

"The analogs are gaining, heroin and Fentanyl are declining, but Fentanyl is still the most common," said Forney.

The increase in Fentanyl is having a direct effect on the rise in crime.

To pay for drugs, users often resort to petty crime like burglaries and car break ins.

"You'll tend to see a pattern in the crime, generally if we engage someone in a specific area, we're pretty sure that whatever crime they're committing it's pretty much gone now because they're engaged in treatment," said Lt. Chromik.

D.A.R.T. officers say they're seeing the scope of crime expand as well from suburbs to more of the metro areas like Point Place, Springfield Township, and more of the western side of Lucas County.

Despite developing drug usage , Lt. Chromik says the D.A.R.T. unit is meeting the problem head on focusing on both addicts and dealers.

"We're confident with the people we've engaged about 2400 of them, those people aren't returning back to the lifestyle they once had and if they do they're calling us and letting us know."

To reach the D.A.R.T. Unit of the Lucas County Sheriff's Office call: (419) 213-6582.

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