OHIO, (CBS).– The coroner of Ohio’s most populous county reported 10 deaths from drug overdoses in a 26-hour period that ended at 10 a.m. Sunday morning. In a statement published on Facebook, Franklin County Coroner Dr. Anahi Ortiz said, “This is an unusually high number for our county in this period of time.”
Dr. Ortiz urged residents to carry naloxone-an anti-overdose medication that treats narcotic overdoses immediately. She also cautioned residents about the dangers of fentanyl, a hyper-powerful, synthetic opioid that can easily be mixed with cocaine and methamphetamine and even black market opioid pills.
Fentanyl is about 50 times more powerful than heroin and can be bought and sold online.
The opioid epidemic has ravaged the United States for the better part of the last two decades. Hundreds of thousands of Americans have died from drug overdoses over the past 20 years, with the number rising from 16,849 in 1999 to 70,237 in 2017. The CDC estimates prescription and illegal opioids have been linked to more than 430,000 deaths in the U.S. since 2000. In 2017, there were 47,000 opioid related deaths alone. That’s more Americans than were killed in vehicle accidents or by firearms.
Earlier this month, the Trump administration announced new funding for states to combat the opioid epidemic. The administration is giving the Department of Health and Human Services $1.8 billion to help communities fight the crisis.