Update: The overdose total now stands at 20 in two days in Akron. Three of those overdoses proved fatal.
Akron's overdose fatality count now stands at 57 for 2016, and it's only July. There were 47 in all of 2015.
Akron leaders addressed the astounding numbers at a Wednesday press conference with the police chief indicating that officers believe fentanyl mixed with heroin to be the cause of the string of overdoses, though he cautioned they don't yet know whether all the ODs came from the same batch. More from the ABJ:
“People need help from each other,” Summit County Health Commissioner Donna Skoda said.
Akron Mayor Dan Horrigan agreed, adding that focusing on the health aspects of addiction — including prevention efforts and treatment options — is what will solve the epidemic.
“This is a public health crisis,” he said. “We cannot arrest our way to sobriety.”
(Original story 7/6/16): Beginning at 1 p.m. yesterday, calls for suspected heroin overdoses rolled into the Akron Police Department. Within 10 hours, the total number had climbed to 16 overdoses in the city, including a mother and her two daughters.
By this morning, the count hit 16 overdoses across the city. Two were fatal.
Police officials are expected to provide more detailed information today. It remains unclear whether there's a connection to the overdoses.
This year, 55 people have fatally overdosed in Akron.