Medical Examiner Issues Alert After 12 Cuyahoga County Overdose Deaths in 2 Days

Medical Examiner Issues Alert After 12 Cuyahoga County Overdose Deaths in 2 Days (3)
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Cuyahoga County Medical Examiner Thomas Gilson has issued a public health alert after 12 people died from drug overdoses in Cuyahoga County over the past two days. Ten of the 12 deaths were in Cleveland.

"This recent trend of clustered overdoses is alarming," Gilson said in a prepared statement. "There were an additional four on Thursday of last week. It remains to be seen what the cause is, but the public should be aware that there is a serious threat to their lives if they are using street drugs right now in Cuyahoga County."

The recent overdose victims ranged in age from 27 to 78. Three were black, two were Hispanic, and seven were non-Hispanic white. Both of the non-Cleveland deaths occurred in east side inner-ring suburbs, one in Euclid and one in Garfield Heights.

Testing is underway at the Medical Examiner's office to determine the precise causes of death, but heroin, fentanyl and fentanyl analogues (designer drugs created to mimic the effects of fentanyl) have been responsible for the lion's share of overdose deaths in 2021 so far.

The recent surge keeps Cuyahoga County on pace to exceed 700 overdose deaths this year. This would be only the second time that the county has suffered a number that high. In 2017, the height of the Opioid epidemic, 727 people died from drug overdoses.
click to enlarge 2021 Overdose Death Projections as of 10/5/21. - Cuyahoga County Medical Examiner
Cuyahoga County Medical Examiner
2021 Overdose Death Projections as of 10/5/21.

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About The Author

Sam Allard

Sam Allard is the Senior Writer at Scene, in which capacity he covers politics and power and writes about movies when time permits. He's a graduate of the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University and the NEOMFA at Cleveland State. Prior to joining Scene, he was encamped in Sarajevo, Bosnia, on an...
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