From Tuesday to early Wednesday this week, Elyria police were hit with a round of six non-fatal drug overdoses — a staggering number of calls that belies the growing opiate epidemic in Northeast Ohio.
“We’re talking heroin, fentanyl or a combination of those and maybe even these new drugs. We just don’t know until we get the tox screens back,” Police Capt. Chris Costantino told
. “What we do know is what people are buying may not be what they think they’re buying. It may be cut with something very powerful and deadly.”
Costantino was referring to suspicions that two drugs new to the Elyria area may be involved with these latest ODs. He cited U4700 and 3-methylfentanyl
, the latter being a chemical analog of fentanyl that officials have said is "7,000 times stronger" than morphine. The Lorain County Crime Lab is continuing to test the most recent drugs confiscated in Elyria.
2016 has already proven to be a horrifying year in pure statistics alone. Elyria police have recorded 40 overdoses — 12 of which were fatal.
From the C-T
Another cause for concern is how the drugs incapacitate users. Costantino said paramedics are using multiple doses of the antidote Narcan to revive people.
“Basically, we are giving Narcan out like there is no tomorrow,” said Herb de la Porte, vice president of LifeCare Ambulance. “We gave Narcan 14 times in a six-hour window yesterday. It’s very bad out there.”
De la Porte said fentanyl is not a new drug nor is its use with heroin new, but the increased potency of the drugs require quick action to save users. Opioid drugs stop a person from breathing. Narcan is a great antidote to revive patients, but paramedics still have to do the work of breathing for people until they are conscious.
“This stuff is very potent,” de la Porte said. “The higher the potency, the more Narcan needed.”