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LORAIN, Ohio -- The Lorain County Sheriff's Department and area police departments in Lorain County are looking at a spike in heroin overdoses.

On Sunday, the Lorain Police Department tells Channel 3 the county has seen 17 cases involving heroin overdoses. Three were fatal.

"I don't think there's any good drugs, but there's definitely a bad drug out there on the street right now," said Lorain County Coroner Stephen Evans. "People need to be careful. People need to stay away from it."

Police believe a bad batch of heroin is being distributed by street-level drug dealers. Drug users have told police they have never seen anything like it.

"When you're using drugs from the street, how do you know what you're getting? I mean you're often melting up something in a spoon and you have no idea what was really in that. In this case, it's been very dangerous and it's been lethal," said Evans.

Evans is testing the substance recovered from scenes to determine if it could possibly be laced with fentanyl, a particularly deadly narcotic.

While results could take days, officers are on the streets tracking the substance to its dealer source and trying to warn drug users and those who love them.

"We have just about every police officer we have out on the street right now trying to shut this down," he said.

A spokesperson with the police department says a number of lives have already been saved by the drug Narcan or naloxone. The Lorain Police Department has been using it to reverse the effects of the heroin and bring a person back to consciousness.

LPD is running a pilot program for the state that officers used to save at least three lives this weekend.

"These are people that when the police got there, the families were doing CPR on them. The police sprayed them with the Narcan and saved their lives," said Evans.

Evans says with Narcan, minutes make a difference which is why it's vital that police officers, often the fastest response available, have the drug with them.

"It's been a tragedy, seeing all these young people dying so anything we can do to save a life," he said.

Lorain Police Lt. Roger Watkins says they have no idea how big this tainted batch could be, but they're trying to roundup whatever is left unused.

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