COLUMBUS, Ohio — The county coroner for Columbus has issued a warning after a recent surge in overdose deaths.

Franklin County Coroner Anahi Ortiz said Wednesday in a news release that her office had seen 18 drug deaths in the past seven days. She said it’s a much higher rate than the county has seen thus far in 2018.

Preliminary tests show most of the deaths were related to fentanyl, a powerful synthetic opioid.

The Ohio Department of Health last month noted a statewide rise in fatal overdoses involving mixtures of fentanyl with other drugs. The agency advised that the opioid reversal-drug naloxone should be used in all suspected overdoses, even when it’s unclear whether opioids are involved.

Ortiz reminded people that naloxone is available at pharmacies without a prescription.

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