Public health alert issued after deadly spike in drug overdoses throughout Cuyahoga County

CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) -The Cuyahoga County Medical Examiner has issued a public health alert after 30 suspected drug overdose deaths during the first two weeks of July.

“With only just over one-third of the month behind us, overdose deaths are mounting quickly. Our concern for the public health and welfare compels us to issue these alerts and to provide as much information to the public as soon as possible,” said Dr. Tom Gilson.

The Cuyahoga Co. Medical Examiner issued a public health alert today as fentanyl overdoses climb. 30 so far in July. On pace for 700+ this year. Listen to this 911 call from the weekend. The phone rings for the better part of a minute as the caller(s) call out the victim’s name.

— Jim Nelson (@JimNelsonTV) July 12, 2022

In a news release, Gilson’s office said 15 deaths from last Friday through early Tuesday are suspected to have been caused by overdoses.

“We do not have all the answers yet, but we will know more shortly. While we are continually on the lookout for new trends in street drugs, such as the carfentanil we saw in 2017, we have learned that the driving force behind overdose deaths in our community, fentanyl, needs no additional help. I caution everyone to be on the lookout and take all necessary safeguards to protect their lives,” Dr. Gilson said.

In less than 24 hours over the weekend, Cleveland police reported four suspected overdose deaths.

“We’re seeing that spike in overdoses because the illicit drug supply is laced with lab-created opioids,” said Scott S. Osiecki, CEO of the Alcohol, Drug Addiction and Mental Health Services (ADAMHS) Board of Cuyahoga County. “There are pressed pills… and there’s fentanyl in there, there’s meth in there, there’s cocaine in there and they look like drugs prescription. People are taking things they think will not hurt them, but they will. It’s deadly right now.”

The ADAMHS Board works with community partners to provide free Naloxone (commonly referred to by the popular brand name Narcan) at following locations throughout the county:

  • The Cuyahoga County Board of Health, 5550 Venture Drive, Parma
  • Circle Health Services, 12201 Euclid Avenue, Cleveland
  • Cleveland Department of Public Health, Thomas F McCafferty Health Center, 4242 Lorain Ave., Cleveland
  • Cleveland Emergency Medical Services, 1701 Lakeside Avenue, Cleveland
  • MetroHealth Expanded Mobile Unit RV, 3370 West 25th Street, Cleveland

Additional information on the above locations can be found here.

For more resources, including information on how to get free drug testing strips and to be connected with treatment programs, click here.

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