Public health crisis: 35 heroin overdose calls within a 24-hour period in Ohio

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Heroin

COLUMBUS, Ohio — It has happened again. There have been nearly three dozen heroin overdoses in Ohio — and two people are dead. All of the 35 overdose calls happened within a 24-hour period.

Officials are calling this a public health crisis.

They are asking that if people are going to use drugs, they always have someone else there and conscious that can call for help.

Officials suggest having the overdose reversal medication Narcan close at hand.

In one case, an eight-year-old girl ran into a McDonald’s restaurant to ask for help after her mother passed out.

Dispatcher: “911. Where is your emergency?”

911 caller: “I need an ambulance. A little girl just came into the McDonald’s on 17th. Her mom’s like, passed out in the driver seat, and her lips are like purple and everything.”

“When and if you have to use, consider testing new heroin — heroin that you have just received — for potency first,” Dr. Teresa Long, health commissioner for Columbus, Ohio said.

In some of the cases, police are looking into a highly-potent batch of heroin, which might be especially deadly.

Seven people died as a result of heroin overdoses on Saturday, September 24th in the Cleveland area.

52 people died from heroin or fentanyl in August in Cuyahoga County, which includes Cleveland

The wave of deaths on September 24th followed outbreaks of overdoses in Akron and Cincinnati involving the animal sedative carfentanil.

Two residents have been indicted on federal charges of distributing heroin laced with carfentanil, a substance used to tranquilize large animals that authorities say is 10,000 times more powerful than morphine.

Federal, state and local officials say the seven-count indictment alleges 31-year-old Phillip Watkins and 26-year-old Jeanetta Crawford conspired in August to sell heroin laced with carfentanil from their Cincinnati home. The indictment also charges them with operating drug-involved premises. Authorities allege the drugs caused serious physical harm, including nonfatal overdoses.

Watkins and Crawford were arrested on September 15th and have been ordered held without bond.

Watkins’ attorney Scott Rubenstein said that it’s too early in the case to comment. Crawford’s attorney didn’t immediately return a call seeking comment on her behalf.