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Cuyahoga County Medical Examiner Issues Alert After Overdose Deaths Spike

[Anne Glausser / ideastream]
[Anne Glausser / ideastream]

After seeing dramtic increase in overdose deaths over the last two days, the Cuyahoga County Medical Examiner's office issued a public health alert.

Toxicology reports have not been completed, but fentanyl, a syntehtic opioid 80-100 times stronger than morphine according to the DEA, is suspected as the cause.

The county had seven overdose deaths in just over a 48-hour span, as of Thursday afternoon, according to the medical examiner's office.

"The recent spike in overdose deaths, which has also been noted across Ohio, is concerning and still likely a result of fentanyl, said Medical Examiner Dr. Thomas Gilson. "Fentanyl is continuing to impact our communities, both in the City of Cleveland and suburbs. If you or someone you know is suffering from an addiction, help is available through the ADAMHS Board of Cuyahoga County and programs such as Project DAWN. While we do not advocate using illegal drugs, someone addicted should avoid using drugs alone. Having someone in the vicinity to use naloxone and call 911 may save your life.”

Overdose deaths dipped in 2018 compared to 2017, but Gilson issued a warning in February regarding seizures of carfentanil, which was designed as an elephant tranquilizer.

Several county agencies developed a heroin intitiative plan to deal with the crisis. The medical examiner's office reported  193 overdose deaths from all drugs through April 2019.