Pre­lim­i­nary screen­ings show fen­tanyl big con­trib­u­tor to re­cent spike in OD deaths

The Morning Journal (Lorain, OH) - - LOCAL NEWS - By An­drew Cass acass@news-her­ald.com @An­drewCassNH on Twit­ter

From Aug. 2 through Mon­day Aug. 6, Cuya­hoga County saw 16 peo­ple die from drug over­doses.

The Cuya­hoga Med­i­cal Ex­am­iner’s Of­fice orig­i­nally re­ported that 14 peo­ple had died of over­doses dur­ing that span, how­ever, pre­lim­i­nary test­ing in­creased that num­ber to 16.

Eleven of the 16 vic­tims were over the age of 50. Seven were over the age of 60. The ages of the vic­tims ranged from 27 to 72,.

The med­i­cal ex­am­iner’s of­fice re­leased pre­lim­i­nary re­ports of the drug test­ings Aug. 9. Screen­ings show at least 14 of the deaths in­volved fen­tanyl. One re­port listed only opi­ates and an­other is await­ing test re­sults.

Ac­cord­ing to the screen­ings, 10 likely in­volved heroin and seven in­volved co­caine.

Five of the over­doses likely in­volved a com­bi­na­tion of fen­tanyl, heroin and co­caine. One in­volved meth.

The med­i­cal ex­am­iner’s of­fice stressed the re­sults are pre­lim­i­nary and it will take some time un­til the test­ing is com­plete.

The of­fice also re­leased its July over­dose death re­port Aug. 9. Through July, the county was pro­jected to see its to­tal over­dose deaths de­crease from 727 last year to 702 this year, but with the re­cent spike the of­fice is pro­ject­ing this year’s fig­ures will match last year’s.

There were at least 39 over­dose deaths in July with 12 cases pend­ing ad­di­tional test­ing. At least 253 peo­ple have died from heroin, fen­tanyl or a fen­tanyl ana­log in the county through July, ac­cord­ing to the re­port.

At the same time last year there were 345 deaths and 257 in 2016.

Through July there have been 21 fa­tal cases in­volv­ing the large an­i­mal seda­tive car­fen­tanil.

Last year there were 191 to­tal over­dose deaths in­volv­ing the drug.

There were at least 29 co­caine-re­lated deaths in the county in July, with at least 16 be­ing mixed with fen­tanyl, heroin or both.

There are at least 107 deaths in Cuya­hoga County through July that in­volved co­caine mixed with some com­bi­na­tion of fen­tanyl and/or heroin.

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