Heroin, Fentanyl May Have Lead To Seven Overdose Deaths in One Day in Ohio

By Seth Ferranti 09/26/16

This overdose outbreak follows 52 overdose deaths in Cuyahoga County from heroin or fentanyl last month.

Heroin, Fentanyl May Have Lead To Seven Overdose Deaths in One Day in Ohio

Almost two months after a wave of carfentanil-laced heroin overdoses swept through Ohio, the deadly narcotic has seemingly struck again. Seven people died from heroin-related ODs in Cuyahoga County on Saturday and authorities in Cleveland and throughout the county are on high alert.

A rash of overdoses ravaged Ohio this summer, raising the death count in Cuyahoga County to over 500 overdose fatalities from heroin, fentanyl, or a toxic combo of the powerful opioids, according to Cleveland.com

Authorities traced several of the summer overdoses, which were mostly concentrated in Akron and Cincinnati, to carfentanil, a powerful animal tranquilizer that is reportedly 10,000 times stronger than morphine.

"Carfentanil is a concern any time there are multiple fatalities," a spokesman for the Cuyahoga County Medical Examiner told Cleveland.com. But the medical examiner, Thomas Gilson, said his office hasn’t determined if carfentanil was involved in the latest overdoses, and that tests are still being conducted to discover which drugs actually caused the deaths.

This latest outbreak follows 52 overdose deaths in the county from heroin or fentanyl in August. Gilson said that there’s no evidence that the deaths are related as of yet. But this latest round of overdoses perpetuates a disturbing trend. 

“This cluster of deaths is deeply concerning,” Gilson said in a news release. “Although there is no clear link between the individuals, this number clearly raises the possibility of a very deadly drug in our community.”

Gilson warned the general public to exercise caution and advised that if people are going to use heroin, they shouldn’t use alone or mix different drugs together. And having naloxone on hand wouldn't hurt one's chances of avoiding a fatal overdose, either.

To try and save lives, Ohio recently enacted a Good Samaritan law which shields people who help overdose victims from being arrested, AP reported earlier this month. The law allows people to take an OD victim to the hospital up to two times without fear of prosecution. Gov. John Kasich enacted the law in September to combat the rising death toll currently ravishing Ohio, as it is mired in one of the worst heroin overdose crises in the country.  

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After landing on the US Marshals Top-15 Most Wanted list and being sentenced to a 25 year sentence in federal prison for a first-time, nonviolent LSD offense, Seth built a writing and journalism career from his cell block. His raw portrayals of prison life and crack era gangsters graced the pages of Don DivaHoopshype and VICE. From prison he established Gorilla Convict, a true-crime publisher and website that documents the stories that the mainstream media can’t get with books like Prison Stories and Street Legends. His story has been covered by The Washington PostThe Washington Times, and Rolling Stone.

Since his release in 2015 he’s worked hard to launch GR1ND Studios, where true crime and comics clash. GR1ND Studios is bringing variety to the comic shelf by way of the American underground. These groundbreaking graphic novels tell the true story of prohibition-era mobsters, inner-city drug lords, and suburban drug dealers. Seth is currently working out of St. Louis, Missouri, writing for The FixVICEOZY, Daily Beast, and Penthouse and moving into the world of film. Check out his first short, Easter Bunny Assassin at sethferranti.com. You can find Seth on Linkedin or follow him on Twitter.