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Fentanyl

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WYSO/Jess Mador

Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine, along with officials from Clark County and the city of Springfield, Tuesday unveiled a new Bureau of Criminal Investigation lab in downtown Springfield.

The lab will be dedicated to testing drug evidence seized by law enforcement agencies in Clark County and statewide. Officials say it will be staffed by two highly trained and experienced drug-chemistry scientists, who will test complex combinations of drugs, including heroin, fentanyl, and other synthetic street opioids.

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Clark County health officials say the number of drug-overdose cases continues to skyrocket. If trends continue, the county could soon surpass the number of drug deaths seen in the county all of last year.

Over the course of just two days, doctors at Springfield Regional Medical Center treated more than four dozen overdose victims, more than double the typical average, health officials say.

But it’s a fraction of Clark County’s total overdoses so far this year. Dozens more have died or were revived by first responders.

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Drug Enforcement Agency

The number of opioid overdose victims treated at Greene County emergency rooms nearly doubled over one 24-hour period this week. County officials say they believe the powerful synthetic drug fentanyl is to blame.

 

Fentanyl is up to 50 times stronger than heroin and up to 100 times stronger than morphine. Greene County health officials say even small amounts of the opioid painkiller can be deadly.

Opioid Fentanyl Is Raising Concerns In Ohio

Feb 1, 2017
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The Community Overdose Action Team has issued an alert about the escalating use fentanyl, and similar drugs.

 

Increased use of the illegally processed synthetic opioid has raised the concerns of county officials even higher. They say a Fentanyl derivative has been found locally that is reported to be 15 times stronger than morphine.

 

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Clark County first responders are on high alert after the number of opioid-drug overdoses more than doubled in a 24-hour period.

County health officials say there were at least 16 known overdoses -- that’s at least one per hour. But that number is likely an undercount.

The county coroner suspects synthetic fentanyl, which often looks similar to heroin, is to blame in most of the overdose cases.

The high-potency narcotic is known to be up to 50 times stronger than heroin, and up to 100 times more potent than morphine.

A new Ohio law offers immunity from prosecution to people trying to get help for someone overdosing on drugs or overdose victims themselves who seek assistance.

The law taking effect Tuesday covers people calling 911, contacting a police officer or taking an overdose victim to a medical facility for up to two times. They would again be subject to prosecution on the third call.

 

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Drug Enforcement Agency

A recent spike of heroin related overdose deaths in southwest Ohio has officials across state lines concerned and looking for answers. To get more details on what those possible answers might be, WYSO's Jerry Kenney spoke with Terry DeMio, a reporter on the heroin beat for the Cincinnati inquirer to get the latest details.

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The overdose death of a pregnant woman in Clark County this week is yet another reminder of the growing epidemic of drug addiction.  In 2015, there were 73 drug overdose deaths in Clark County, almost double from the previous year.  Almost all of them were related to heroin or fentanyl, a much stronger drug than heroin.  Officials say buyers often don't know which one they're getting.

The coroner in southwest Ohio's largest county says overdose deaths from the powerful painkiller fentanyl have overtaken heroin deaths.
 
Hamilton County coroner Dr. Lakshmi Sammarco says overdose deaths in the county totaled 414 in 2015. That's about a 40 percent increase over the previous year.
 
Sammarco says 238 deaths were fentanyl-related and 198 were heroin-related. A coroner's spokesman adds that there was some overlap, with some of those deaths involving both drugs.
 

Ohio must target anti-overdose interventions in eight counties that account for two of every three overdose deaths from the painkiller fentanyl, government scientists said Tuesday.

The state must also ensure widespread availability of an anti-overdose drug and that addicts have access to a variety of drug overdose prevention services, including clean needles when allowed by local policies, according to a report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.