The tragedy of the current opioid overdose epidemic is not going to go away by just ignoring it. Slowly but surely the American public is coming to recognize that; unfortunately stigma, shortcomings in community resources, and other factors continue to stand in the way of those who need treatment to overcome opioid abuse disorders.
That, more than anything, lead to the death of seven people in the Cleveland area over the span of 24 hours. Authorities are attempting to determine in these untimely and ultimately preventable deaths are tied to heroin or Fentanyl- the lethal synthetic opioid that has been behind a sharp spike in opioid overdose rates across the country.
Medical examiner for Cuyahoga County, Ohio, Thomas Gilson comments:
“This cluster of deaths is deeply concerning. Although there is no clear link between the individuals, this number clearly raises the possibility of a very deadly drug in our community.”
Gilson also issued a warning against using illicit substances, especially given how incredibly difficult it can be to determine if any given supply has been tainted in an attempt to cut costs by illegal drug manufacturers.
Though there has yet to be any word as to rather authorities are seeking to find those responsible for supplying the lethal drugs that caused seven opioid overdose cases, potential murder charges are quite possible.
Last month 52 people died of similar causes in the same areas of Cleveland and surrounding suburbs. This is an unfortunate record for Cuyahoga County, which is well on its way to seeing more than 500 opioid overdose deaths in 2016. This number nearly included an Ohio couple who overdosed with their grandson in the backseat of their car- a photo captured by local police in Liverpool, Ohio went viral with outcries of disgust and pleas for empathy.
With 2016 already breaking records in terms of overdose deaths and substance abuse, local and national authorities are desperate for a solution; President Obama recently declared last week Prescription Opioid and Heroin Epidemic Awareness Week. Now that this silent epidemic is finally getting the attention it deserves, perhaps we can begin to work toward real, lasting solutions.