Cincinnati Overdose Crisis: 174 Cases in Six Days

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An overdose crisis in Cincinnati for the past six days has left police and emergency responders drained, and for now, without clues. It has also underscored that the region does not have the resources to treat all of the addicted, reports the Cincinnati Enquirer. Police are asking for the public’s help in identifying the source of purported heroin sold to people in Cincinnati that caused scores of overdoses, including at least three deaths. “We’re working very closely to find the source dealer,” said Newtown Police Chief Tom Synan, who heads the law enforcement task force for the Hamilton County Heroin Coalition. He said local, state and federal authorities are combining their forces to investigate the source or sources. “We don’t have anything solid to go off of.”

With an estimated 78 overdoses Tuesday and Wednesday alone, and an estimated 174 overdose cases in emergency rooms in less than a week, officials are scrambling to attack a heroin crisis of a magnitude they’ve never had before. “This is unprecedented to see as many alerts as we’ve seen in the last six days,” said Hamilton County Health Commissioner Tim Ingram. Cincinnati typically sees an average of four overdose runs per day. “It’s unlike anything we’ve seen before,” said Hamilton County Commissioner Dennis Deters, who called the outbreak a public health emergency. There are no samples of the drugs to test yet. The victims could have injected heroin mixed with the potent painkiller fentanyl or the mega-potent animal opioid carfentanil. Carfentanil, an analgesic for large animals including elephants, was discovered in July in the region’s heroin stream.

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