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Cuyahoga County has eight suspected overdose deaths in one day

Cuyahoga County is on track to see more than 700 overdose deaths in 2021.

The Cuyahoga County Medical Examiner issued a public health alert Friday morning after at least eight suspected overdose deaths took place in Cuyahoga County.

“Much like a month ago, yesterday’s overdose cluster is very concerning. Again, the public needs to be aware that using street drugs in and around Cuyahoga County is deadly,” Cuyahoga County Medical Examiner Thomas Gilson said in a news release. “Resources are available to lessen the dangers, but the simple fact is there is only one sure way to avoid these tragic ends. Get yourself into treatment before it is too late.”

The medical examiner urged those using opioids to seek treatment, get test strips to determine whether drugs such as heroin contain deadly fentanyl and obtain naloxone, an antidote that reverses the effect of opioids and can revive overdose victims,

It has not yet been determined which drugs caused the deaths, though officials have expressed alarm recently about the deadliness of fentanyl.

The incident a month ago that the medical examiner referenced involved 12 overdose deaths in a two-day period.

Gilson has been sounding the alarm about the deadly opioid epidemic for years, testifying before U.S. Senate panel in 2017.

Cuyahoga County is on track to see more than 700 overdose deaths in 2021, a huge increase over 2020, when less than 600 died.

Overdose deaths have increased nationwide during the coronavirus pandemic.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there were more than 100,000 overdose deaths in the United States in a 12-month period that ended on April 12, 2021. It was the first time the number of deaths reached six figures for a 12-month stretch.

Overdose deaths tallied more than 78,000 across the United States the year before that.

Gilson's release suggested those in need of help call Project DAWN at MetroHealth Medical Center at  216-778-5677.

The Alcohol, Drug Addiction and Mental Health Services (ADAMHS) Board of Cuyahoga County provides a 24-hour crisis hotline at 216-623-6888.


Copyright 2021 WCPN. To see more, visit WCPN.

Gabriel Kramer is a reporter/producer and the host of “NewsDepth,” Ideastream Public Media's news show for kids.