The Franklin County coroner is facing unprecedented challenges in the face of the opioid overdose epidemic that continues to claim lives in Central Ohio.
According to a report from CNN, there were 23 reported overdose deaths in the county from January 31 to February 7, prompting coroner Dr. Anahi Ortiz to make the following statement on Facebook:
In the day following Dr. Ortiz’s heartbreaking message, five more overdoses occurred. In a separate report from ABC6, Dr. Ortiz said that Franklin County morgue techs are “constantly working [and] don’t take lunch,” adding that the county may be forced to consider opening a second temporary morgue if the overdose rate maintains the same pace or worsens.
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The synthetic opioid fentanyl is believed to be the cause of the spike in overdose deaths. According to the Centers for Disease Control, it is the deadliest drug in the US, and up to 100 times more powerful than morphine.
For a list of resources that can help battle this epidemic—such as treatment options, fentanyl testing strips, and the overdose-reversal drug Naloxone—visit the City of Columbus’s Overdose Crisis Information page.