The Cuyahoga County Medical Examiner released the latest batch of opiate overdose data this week, signalling a statistic that many predicted a while ago: More than 500 people have fatally overdosed on heroin and/or fentanyl so far this year.
From Dec. 1 to Dec. 12, 18 people overdose and died.
To lay the case even more starkly, Medical Examiner Thomas Gilson notes that, since February, an average of 12 people have been fatally overdosing each week here.
And to illustrate the expanding universe of synthetic opioids in Ohio's supply chain, Gilson reports that the county has seen 15 confirmed overdose deaths from carfentanil.
In interviews with Scene throughout this year, many of those observers who predicted that the county would cross the 500-death threshold went on to surmise that we could see as many as 1,000 deaths in 2017. Data points already suggest that this public health crisis is growing exponentially.