This Ohio town saw 20 drug overdose cases in 24 hours after warnings of a 'bad batch'

(MGN Online)

SPRINGFIELD, Ohio (WKEF/WRGT) - About 40 people were treated for suspected drug overdoses in Springfield, Ohio over the span of just two days. Police said 20 people were seen in emergency rooms over the course of just 24 hours as Ohio continues to grapple with a nationwide opioid epidemic.

Officials with Clark County Public Health say the 20 people who visited the E.R. came in between 5 a.m. Friday, April 14 and 5 a.m. Saturday, April 15. The news comes as Springfield Police put out an alert on Friday (April 14) about a 'bad batch' of heroin they believe is circulating.

On Friday, police called WKEF to report that 19 people had overdosed in a 24 hour period. New numbers reported Monday by public health officials show 39 people in total overdosed in just 48 hours. Authorities do say two people have died from what they suspect is heroin, but the cause of their deaths have not yet been confirmed by an autopsy.

RELATED | Sheriff: 21 kilograms of fentanyl found in drug cartel bust

Just last week in Springfield's neighboring county, Montgomery, Sheriff Phil Plummer held a news conference with other authorities following a large fentanyl bust. Plummer said he and other county authorities are hoping to raise awareness about the dangers of opioid use. So far this year in Montgomery County there have been between 182 and 208 deadly overdoses. If this continue on the same pace, the county could suffer between 750 and 800 overdose deaths this yea -- on par with some of the highest rates in the country.

This growing dependence on opioids has mushroomed into a national health crisis, ripping apart communities and straining police and health departments. Every day, an overdose of prescription opioids or heroin kills 91 people, and legions more are brought back from the brink of death. With some 2 million Americans hooked on these pills, evidence is growing that they're not as good a choice for treating chronic pain as once thought.

Drug companies are working on alternatives, but have had little success -- so far.

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