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Ohio Coroners Warn Of July Spike In Overdose Deaths

Naloxone is an antidote that can help reverse drug overdoses.
John Minchillo
Associated Press
Naloxone is an antidote that can help reverse drug overdoses.

Ohio coroners are raising new warnings following a spike in drug overdose deaths.

Franklin County Coroner’s Office reported nine overdose deaths in 48 hours between Saturday and Monday. Coroner Dr. Anahi Ortiz said residents with family or friends at risk for overdoses should have the anti-overdose antidote Naloxone available for them.

In Montgomery County, which contains Dayton, 10 overdose deaths were reported through Wednesday. That number compares with a total of 18 deaths in all of June.

Eric Blaine, director of the Montgomery County Coroner’s Office, called the number alarming.

“Anytime we see this we have to caution everybody that there is no safe way to use illegal drugs,” he says.

Montgomery County Coroner Dr. Kent Harshbarger says there's a strong likelihood that street drugs, including cocaine, may be laced with fentanylor other fatal chemicals.

The coroner’s office advises drug users, and their friends and family members, to be aware of ways to reduce their risk of death from drug use.

Those steps include training in how to administer the drug known as Narcan or naloxone that reverses the effects of an overdose. Project Dawn Montgomery County offers free weekly overdose education and distribution every Wednesday.

Ohio saw a record 4,854 unintentional fatal overdoses in 2017, the most recent year for which statewide data is available.

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Jerry Kenney was introduced to WYSO by a friend and within a year of first tuning in became an avid listener and supporter. He began volunteering at the station in 1991 and began hosting Alpha Rhythms in February of 1992. Jerry joined the WYSO staff in 2007 as a host of All Things Considered and soon transitioned into hosting Morning Edition. In addition to now hosting All Things Considered, Jerry is the host and producer of WYSO Weekend, WYSO's weekly news and arts magazine. He has also produced several radio dramas for WYSO in collaboration with local theater companies. Jerry has won several Ohio AP awards as well as an award from PRINDI for his work with the WYSO news department. Jerry says that the best part of his job is being able to talk to people in the community and share their experiences with WYSO listeners.