25 suspected overdose deaths in 10 days, Hamilton Co. Coroner says

Updated: Jun. 11, 2020 at 1:15 PM EDT
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CINCINNATI (FOX19) - Coroner Dr. Lakshmi Sammarco announced Thursday that there have 25 suspected overdose deaths in Hamilton County since June 1.

COVID-19 is suspected to have a significant effect on opioid use for many reasons.

"People who are already on the edge are reaching for something to make them feel better,” Sammarco said.

There were 42 overdoses in May, 204 suspected overdoses deaths so far this year, and by this time last year, there were 193, according to Sammarco.

Sammarco believes that one of the reasons for the spike is that some may not have had access to drugs during the quarantine and tolerances have gone down, so as supply begins to increase again the number of overdoses will increase.

Tom Synan, co-chair of the Hamilton County Heroin Coalition, says they believe COVID-19 slowed fentanyl suppliers from getting drugs into the U.S., and now that countries are opening back up so is the supply of fentanyl.

Synan emphasized that drug users should use harm reduction techniques like never using alone, have Narcan, use fentanyl testing strips, and calling 911 when needed.

He says he does not care if he gets labeled as an enabler.

“My first job and the job of this profession is to saves lives,” Synan said.

On Wednesday, Hamilton County Public Health issued an advisory about the high recent number of overdoses and overdose deaths. Fentanyl is suspected as well as Fentanyl with other drugs such as cocaine and meth.

The advisory says, “Anyone using these drugs is at high risk of overdose or death.”

Also on Wednesday, the Cincinnati Police Department said there had been 11 confirmed heroin overdoses in the city since midnight, with two of those incidents involving adults caring for children.

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