Cuyahoga County medical examiner issues health alert after 9 overdose deaths in 48 hours


CLEVELAND (WJW) — Cuyahoga County’s medical examiner issued a public health alert Tuesday after 9 suspected overdose deaths in 48 hours.

Dr. Thomas Gilson said it is “measurably higher than what we have been seeing for the first four months of 2020. The interruption of drug use due to COVID-19 may mean users’ tolerance has dropped and therefore they are at higher risk of overdose and fatality. Additionally, any disruption of the illicit drug supply due to COVID-19 may mean that users are subject to a wide variety of other dangerous substances being substituted without their knowledge.”

The Cuyahoga County Medical Examiner’s Office said toxicology testing has not yet confirmed which drug or drugs caused the deaths.

The following information was provided on where free fentanyl test strips are available:

The medical examiner’s office said if you or someone you know is actively using or recovering from opioid addiction, contact Project DAWN for information at 216-778-5677. Eligible program participants are given free Naloxone kits – the opioid reversing antidote.

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

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