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Ten deaths in 26 hours amid growing overdose epidemic in Ohio

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Hailshadow/iStock(COLUMBUS, Ohio) -- Medical officials in Ohio said at least 10 people just died from drug overdoses in only 26 hours, calling it an "unusually high number" for the area in a such a short period of time.

The Franklin County Coroner's Office on Sunday reported a surge in overdose deaths and warned residents that they could be fentanyl-related.

"As of about 10am this morning we have had 10 people die of overdoses in about 26 hours. This is an unusually high number for our county in this period of time," the office said in a statement Sunday. "At this time we know fentanyl can be mixed in to cocaine and methamphetamine. These can be deadly combinations for those who are using."

Last month, the office issued an alert saying six county residents had died from overdoses in less than 24 hours. That news came just weeks after the office announced that nine people had suffered fatal overdoses in a two-day period in July.

Ohio has been one of the hardest-hit states by the nation's growing opioid and fentanyl epidemics.

The state saw an increase of more than 500 fentanyl encounters -- police samples testing positive for the drug -- from 2014 to 2015, the latest data available from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows. Only three other states -- Pennsylvania, Massachusetts and New Hampshire -- saw similar increases.

In its statement on Sunday, the Franklin County Coroner's Office said residents with family or friends that might be at risk for overdoses should have Naloxone, the emergency overdose reversal drug, on hand as a precaution.

In addition, the office urged at-risk residents to purchase fentanyl testing strips to look for fentanyl in substances before using them.

"I urge friends and family of those who use to make sure you are armed with Naloxone," the statement said. "Those who use should also test before using with fentanyl testing strips."

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