UPDATE: Overdose Deaths Surge in Cuyahoga County; Older Residents Hit Hard
There has been a surge in fatal overdoses in Cuyahoga County over five days, and the recent spate of deaths has hit those over 60 years old harder than usual, according to the medical examiner.
On Thursday, the medical examiner's office increased the number of overdose deaths reported from 14 to 16 after further testing. Dr. Thomas Gilson called the deaths in the five days from August 2 through August 6 “a concerning trend.” Four of those deaths occurred in one 24-hour period between Monday and Tuesday.
Gilson also noted another trend. Half of the recent deaths were people 60 years or older, he said in a news release. Usually, the largest group of overdose victims is between the ages of 45-55.
The medical examiner’s office is working with other government agencies to find out the source of the drugs. Tests are being performed to determine exactly what kind of drug is behind the recent deaths, the agency spokesperson said.
“We are issuing this alert to make the public aware and advise caution, as well as encourage addicted individuals to seek help,” Gilson said.