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Rash of ODs may mean lethal product

LISBON — With several recent overdoses, including four deaths believed related to overdoses in the past few days, the county Drug Task Force is warning local drug users investigators believe there is a potentially more potent or lethal source of drugs circulating in the area.

DTF Director Brian McLaughlin said on Tuesday there have been 11 overdoses since Friday in Columbiana County, including four that proved fatal. The deaths were throughout the county in East Liverpool, Salem and Lisbon.

Additionally, McLaughlin said if family or friends did not call the police after reviving someone, it is possible there could have been more. He is asking for assistance from those who overdosed or may know someone who has overdosed in the past few days.

“In an emergency situation, don’t call the task force, call locally for help,” McLaughlin said. “But we’re following up on it.”

McLaughlin said deaths from drug overdoses had been slowing this year. But now investigators are attempting to determine if these recent overdoses came from possibly extra strong doses, which could be coming from one or multiple sources.

Currently, McLaughlin said drug dealers have been calling what they are selling heroin, but in many cases test results are showing it to be fentanyl or even carfentanil. Often there may be little to no heroin actually in the substance.

According to the Center of Disease Control, fentanyl is a man-made opioid 50 times more potent than heroin. Carfentanil is about 10,000 times as strong as morphine and much stronger than fentanyl.

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