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Heroin Deaths Spike in Johnson County

IOWA CITY, IA (AP) -- Authorities in Johnson County are reporting a dramatic increase in the number of heroin overdose deaths.   

The Iowa City Press-Citizen reports that in the first six months of this year, 10 heroin-related deaths have occurred in Johnson County. That's a 233 percent increase from all deaths caused by the drug last year, according to data from the Johnson County Medical Examiner.   

Officials speculate the increase could be related to a growing number of people addicted to prescription painkillers who are turning to heroin as a cheaper, stronger alternative. Officials also blame eastern Iowa's close proximity to major drug suppliers in Chicago.   

Federal, state and local officials gathered in Iowa City earlier this month to begin addressing the jump in heroin use and deaths.

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