Authorities are trying to discover the types of drugs involved in a spate of overdoses that killed seven people in the Cleveland area Sunday in the latest outbreak of drug overdoses in Ohio. Officials suspect they were either heroin or fentanyl, the AP reports. "This cluster of deaths is deeply concerning," Cuyahoga County Medical Examiner Thomas Gilson said in a statement. "Although there is no clear link between the individuals, this number clearly raises the possibility of a very deadly drug in our community." He issued a warning to take extreme caution while also advising people not to use illicit drugs.
The deaths were reported across the county—in both Cleveland and its suburbs—and weren't limited to one area, a spokesman for the medical examiner says. The outbreak comes after 52 people died from heroin or fentanyl during August in the same area. The opioid deaths last month were the most in the county's history, the medical examiner's office said. Cuyahoga County, which has about 1.2 million residents, is on pace to record more than 500 overdose deaths from heroin or fentanyl this year, Cleveland.com reports. The wave of deaths follows outbreaks of overdoses in Akron and Cincinnati involving the animal sedative carfentanil, which is used on elephants. (Read more drug overdose stories.)