18 Overdose Deaths Since May 20th

CLEVELAND – Cuyahoga County Medical Examiner Dr. Thomas Gilson, today issued a public health alert – the second alert in less than a week, stating that Cuyahoga County has suffered 8 suspected overdose deaths over the Memorial Day Weekend. At least 18 overdose deaths have occurred since May 20th. Fentanyl is likely to blame for the recent rash of overdose deaths.

“I’m deeply concerned about the number of overdose fatalities we’ve seen within the past week. Additionally, we are seeing a high percentage of African American victims — 50 percent.” said Dr. Thomas Gilson. “While we are still gathering information, early indications are that many of the fatalities are a result of fentanyl/crack cocaine. We are coordinating efforts with other major metropolitan areas within Ohio to see if they are experiencing the same.”

Cuyahoga County, The United States Attorney’s Office, Cleveland Police Department, and other community partners are working together to curb this unfolding public health emergency. More information will be provided later this week.

FREE fentanyl test strips are available at the following locations:

*   Circle Health Services (12201 Euclid Ave, Cleveland, OH 44106)
*   Care Alliance Clinic (2916 Central Avenue Cleveland, OH 44115)

If you or anyone that you know is actively using or recovering from opioid addiction, contact Project DAWN for information at 216-778-5677.  Eligible program participants are given FREE Naloxone kits – the opioid reversing antidote.

Additionally, the Alcohol, Drug Addiction and Mental Health Services (ADAMHS) Board of Cuyahoga County provides a 24-hour crisis hotline at 216-623-6888.

Christopher Harris
External Affairs Manager, Medical Examiner’s Office
Cuyahoga County