69 suspected overdose deaths in March in Cuyahoga County, medical examiner says

69 suspected overdose deaths in March in Cuyahoga County, medical examiner says
The Cuyahoga County Medical Examiner said there were 69 suspected overdose deaths in March 2021. (Source: WOIO - Tim Dubravetz)

CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - Cuyahoga County had 69 suspected overdose deaths in March, according to a public health alert from Cuyahoga Medical Examiner Dr. Thomas Gilson.

There were 13 overdose deaths within the first five days of April.

Toxicology reports have yet to confirm which drugs caused the recent overdoses.

Fentanyl and cocaine currently appear to be the most common drugs responsible for overdose deaths.

“This is a serious development and the community should be aware of this spike in overdose deaths,” said Gilson. “Some preliminary data suggests minority communities may be more vulnerable in this outbreak. Risk reduction strategies like naloxone kits and fentanyl test strips are available at no cost and are effective at saving lives.”

Cuyahoga County could see over 700 overdose deaths if it continue at this pace, according to officials.

In 2017, Cuyahoga County had 727 overdose deaths.

Free fentanyl test strips are available at Circle Health Services, Care Alliance Clinic and MetroHealth Mobile Unit.

Anyone using or recovering from opioid addiction can contact project DAWN for information at 216-778-5677.

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

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