Medical examiner warns of spike in fentanyl-related overdose deaths

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CLEVELAND, Ohio — The Cuyahoga County Medical Examiner’s Office is warning the public about a steep rise in deaths related to the use of fentanyl.

According to authorities, fentanyl continues to be distributed, either as heroin or mixed with heroin, which is oftentimes deadly to unaware or inexperienced users.

According to a release from the Cuyahoga County Medical Examiner’s Office, the county had five fentanyl-related deaths in 2013 and 39 in 2014.

Previously, fentanyl-related deaths were a sporadic community emergency, the release states. And current patterns suggest it may now be a regular occurrence.

Over the past weekend, four of 10 overdose deaths were fentanyl or fentanyl mixed with other opiates. The period prior, an additional six overdose deaths occurred, and two were related to fentanyl.

The release emphasized that Naloxone, a medication that can reverse an overdose caused by an opioid drug like heroin or fentanyl, can be obtained for free through Project D.A.W.N.

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