Medical examiner issues public health advisory after 15 heroin/fentanyl deaths in three days


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CLEVELAND – Fifteen people overdosed on heroin, fentanyl or a combination of the two drugs within a three-day period in Cuyahoga County, prompting Cuyahoga County Medical Examiner Dr. Thomas Gilson to issue what his office is calling an “important public health advisory.

From August 1st through August 3rd, 11 men and 4 women died from such overdoses. This follows 47 deaths in July that were caused by the drugs.

Gilson states, “The recent detection of carfentanil, a veterinary narcotic deemed unsafe for human usage, in Summit County last month makes this increased number of overdose deaths of particular concern. While our lab has not yet detected carfentanil in our casework, it is yet another deadly development in the drug epidemic facing Cuyahoga County.”

At this rate, the Medical Examiner’s office reports that Cuyahoga County is on track to end the year with over 550 heroin/fentanyl-related deaths. Right now, there are about 280 such fatalities listed for 2016.

To put this all in perspective, the Medical Examiner released this list of statistics:

In 2015, one person died every day in Cuyahoga County from a drug overdose.
In 2016, during January and February, one person died every day in Cuyahoga County from a heroin or fentanyl overdose. Since then, we have lost an average of 9 people every week.
At least 280 victims have died already in 2016, far exceeding all of 2015.

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