Seven peope in Ohio’s Cuyahoga County were found dead from apparent drug overdoses over the weekend, prompting the county’s medical examiner to issue a public health warning. The drugs that caused the overdoses are still unknown and all seven incidents are still under investigation.
According to Chris Harris, communications specialist for the Cuyahoga County medical examiner's office, 52 overdose deaths occurred in August and over 350 people have died from drug overdoses so far in 2016 in the county.
"This cluster of deaths is deeply concerning," medical examiner Thomas Gilson said in a statement. "Although there is no clear link between the individuals, this number clearly raises the possibility of a very deadly drug in the community."
Three opioids have been the main culprit for the recent string of overdoses, heroin, carfentanil and fentanyl, the latter two being used by drug dealers to mix with heroin to enhance the drug and make their supply last longer. Carfentanil is commonly used to sedate large animals and is not approved for human use while fentanyl is used by cancer patients for pain relief that is 50 to 100 times more potent than morphine.
With Ohio being the 25th state to legalize medical marijuana and the DEA still classifying marijuana as a Schedule I drug is the state headed in the right direction for a solution to these drug overdoses? Opioids were involved in 61% of all drug overdose deaths in 2014, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.
The county is already expected to have an estimated 500 fatalities from drug overdoses by the end of the year with that eventually number going up each year according to the Center for Disease Control. Opioid overdoses are happening at an alarming rate and it’s time for Ohio and all other states to find solutions to help those in need. The state must look into what they have already legalized and see if medical marijuana can help.