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Man Arrested Following 10 Opiate Overdoses, 2 Deaths

Craig Zirpolo via Flickr
Naloxone, sometimes called Narcan, is used to treat opiate overdoses.

One man is in police custody today in connection with 10 opiate overdoses that police officers and firefighters responded to in Columbus on Sunday.

Eight of the overdose victims were treated and two died, said Columbus Police spokesman Sgt. Rich Weiner.

Weiner said the man will be charged with a first degree felony of corrupting someone with drugs, although Weiner said the investigation is ongoing so the suspect’s connection to the series of overdoses is still unknown.

“Whether or not he's responsible for just this batch or other batches is still yet to be determined,” Weiner said.

The victims were in relatively close proximity to one another, located mostly on the east side of Columbus, and Weiner said some of the victims were treated with Narcan, an opiate antidote.

This series of overdoses is part of a wider problem, Weiner said, noting a similar cluster outbreak in Akron last week.

“This is an epidemic and it’s not just within the city of Columbus, it’s nationwide," Weiner said. "So this is the new up-and-coming issue. Unfortunately it’s claiming a lot of lives as it grows.”