CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - There have been at least 19 fatal overdoses in Cuyahoga County this past week, said Cuyahoga County Medical Examiner Dr. Thomas Gilson.
Gilson added 11 of those deaths happened over the holiday weekend.
Due to the high number, Gilson issued a public health alert.
At this time, Gilson said he did not know which drug caused this recent increase.
“It is regrettable to see a spike in drug overdose deaths with everything else that is going on,” said Gilson. “Naloxone kits and fentanyl test strips can help prevent overdoses, though our hope is for our addicted neighbors to find their way into recovery.”
Gilson estimates Cuyahoga County will see at least 600 drug-related deaths in 2020.
Scott Osiecki is the CEO of the ADAMHS Board of Cuyahoga County. He says these deaths, are a constant battle due to the heavy insertion of the dangerous opioid hitting the area. “Fentanyl has made its way into other drugs, including cocaine, powdered and crack. So people don’t even realize they’re even taking Fentanyl.” says Osiecki.
And it’s not just the inner city that’s seeing this problem. Osiecki says, “It’s equal in the suburbs, as well as in the city of Cleveland. So it’s an equal opportunity disease.”
To combat this, ADAMHS created a Fentanyl test strip program. These strips are free and can be picked-up a local health facilities around the city. “We give free test strips out. Then a person could a person could test any drug they’re about to take to see if there’s Fentanyl in there. Then they can make an informed decision to see if they’re going to take that drug or take less of it.” Osiecki says.
Free fentanyl test strips are available at the following locations:
• Circle Health Services (12201 Euclid Ave, Cleveland, OH 44106 | 216.721.4010)
• Care Alliance Clinic (2916 Central Avenue Cleveland, OH 44115 | 216.535.9100)
• Care Alliance Clinic (1530 St. Clair Avenue, Cleveland, OH 44114 | 216.781.6724)
• MetroHealth – Mobile Unit (3370 W.25th Street, Cleveland, OH 44109)
The Alcohol, Drug Addiction and Mental Health Services (ADAMHS) Board of Cuyahoga County provides a 24-hour crisis hotline at 216-623-6888.