10 Dead In 26 Hours From Overdose In Ohio, Fentanyl Suspected

By Lindsey Weedston 10/02/19

Ohio has experienced multiple mass overdose cases in the past few months.

Image: 
emergency responders bringing an overdose victim to the ER

At least 10 people died of drug overdoses in a period of 26 hours in one Ohio county, according to medical officials. This high number within a short time frame has the Franklin County Coroner's Office suspecting the involvement of fentanyl, the synthetic opioid that is 50 times more potent than heroin and is often mixed with other drugs to make them more powerful.

"As of about 10 a.m. this morning we have had 10 people die of overdoses in about 26 hours. This is an unusually high number for our county in this period of time," the coroner’s office said in a statement. "At this time we know fentanyl can be mixed into cocaine and methamphetamine. These can be deadly combinations for those who are using."

According to ABC News, Ohio has been hit particularly hard by the national opioid epidemic. They have experienced multiple mass overdose cases in past few months, with six dead in a single day in August and nine people dead in 48 hours in July.

The statement about this latest rash of overdose deaths was posted on Facebook by Franklin County Coroner Dr. Anahi Ortiz. The coroner urged those with loved ones who use illicit drugs to carry naloxone, the medication that blocks opioid receptors in the brain and reverses an overdose. She also encouraged those who use risky drugs to take advantage of fentanyl testing strips.

Fentanyl-Related Overdose Deaths Rise

Batches of drugs tainted with fentanyl are considered to be largely responsible for the alarming increases in overdose deaths in recent years. Thankfully, many areas are seeing these numbers level off from 2017 to 2018, likely due to widespread efforts to make naloxone available to the public and educate people on how to administer the lifesaving drug.

Funding for these efforts has also increased substantially in the past couple of years.

Earlier this month, the Trump administration announced that it will be allocating a new wave of funding to fight the opioid crisis, with senior officials saying that the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) will be getting an extra $1.8 billion for that purpose.

First Drop In Overdose Deaths Announced

“Our country is seeing the first drop in overdose deaths in more than two decades, more Americans are getting treatment for addiction, and lives are being saved,” said HHS Secretary Alex Azar. “At the same time, we are still far from declaring victory. We will continue executing on the Department’s 5-Point strategy for combating the opioid crisis, and laying the foundation for a healthcare system where every American can access the mental healthcare they need."

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Lindsey Weedston is a Seattle area writer focused on mental health and addiction, politics, human rights, and various social issues. Her work has appeared in The Establishment, Ravishly, ThinkProgress, Little Things, Yes! Magazine, and others. You can find her daily writings at NotSorryFeminism.com. Twitter: https://twitter.com/LindseyWeedston