At least 10 people died from drug overdoses in Columbus, Ohio, over the weekend amid a rash of recent mass overdose deaths.
The deaths, which occurred over 26 hours, were an unusually high number for the county over such a short time frame, according to a statement Sunday from Franklin County Coroner Dr. Anahi Ortiz. Ortiz warned that drugs such as cocaine and methamphetamine can be mixed with fentanyl, which results in a lethal combination.
“I urge friends and family of those who use to make sure you are armed with naloxone,” Ortiz said in the statement. “Those who use should also test before using with fentanyl testing strips.”
Naloxone, also known by brand name Narcan, is a medication that can counter an overdose caused by an opioid drug. Public health advocates have pushed for easy access to naloxone and training so that friends and family members of drug users could potentially save lives.
The deaths in Ohio mark a second weekend of mass overdose deaths in the country. Authorities in the New York City area said last week they were investigating five apparent overdose deaths that were possibly connected to the same batch of tainted cocaine.
And in Pittsburgh, three people died and four others were hospitalized at a weekend after-party on Sept. 22.
A man named Peter Rene Sanchez Montalvo was charged Monday in connection with the suspected mass overdose in Pennsylvania. Montalvo allegedly sold the victims a white powder laced with the deadly synthetic opioid fentanyl, according to federal prosecutors.
It’s unclear whether the Ohio deaths are connected.
The Franklin County Coroner’s Office was not immediately available for a request for comment from NBC News.