Overdoses spike in Akron amid growing drug death concerns

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — A recent spike in drug overdoses in Akron over just a few days is drawing renewed attention to what Ohio authorities describe as a growing epidemic of abuse of heroin and a more potent painkiller, fentanyl.

Emergency responders in Akron reported at least 25 suspected overdoses in three days last week, and four people died. Officials suspect at least some involved fentanyl, a synthetic opiod sometimes added to heroin or disguised to look like less powerful painkillers.

Meanwhile, in Columbus authorities say seven people were treated Sunday for what’s believed to be opiate overdoses; one died.

In May, the state launched a six-month awareness campaign targeting 15 counties hit hard by fentanyl-related overdose deaths.

Ohio had roughly 500 such deaths in 2014. The Department of Health expects 2015 data by September.

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