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Cuyahoga County Sees Six Overdose Deaths In 24 Hours

[Phil Lowe / Shutterstock]
A bottle of pills on its side with the pills spilling out.

The Cuyahoga County Medical Examiner says six county residents died from overdoses in the last 24 hours, with 10 dying from overdoses since August 18.

“We are seeing another cluster of apparent overdose deaths, said Dr. Thomas Gilson. "Our recent experience indicates that this is likely related to fentanyl, possibly also carfentanil. These dangerous drugs may be mixed with other drugs like cocaine or heroin with significant increases in risk of death. Naloxone kits, fentanyl test strips, and not using drugs alone are some strategies that have been shown to save lives.”

The 10 residents who died were between the ages of 31 and 69. Five were from Cleveland.

The Medical Examiner's office also says free fentanyl test strips are available at Circle Health Services, 12201 Euclid Ave, Cleveland, OH 44106, and Care Alliance Clinic, 2916 Central Avenue Cleveland, OH 44115.

U.S. Attorneys also announced Wednesday that a Port Clinton doctor, 82-year-old William Bauer, was indicted on 200 counts of distribution of controlled substances and 14 counts of healthcare fraud for allegedly prescribing thousands of doses powerful painkillers such as fentanyl, oxycodone, hydrocodone, morphine, and other drugs. Federal authorities allege Bauer began overprescribing the drugs in 2007 and continued through this year.

On Tuesday, Endo International  agreed to pay $10 million to settle claims by Cuyahoga and Summit counties that the drug manufacturer contributed to the rise of opioid addiction. The company would also make available to the two counties up to $1 million worth of two other medications. Endo would not admit wrongdoing or liability for the opioid crisis as part of the settlement.

Cuyahoga and Summit are still scheduled to try their claims against other drug companies in October — the first trial in the wide-ranging litigation. 

Glenn Forbes is supervising producer of newscasts at Ideastream Public Media.