Mixtures of cocaine and the deadly synthetic opioid fentanyl are causing a spike in drug overdoses across Ohio, prompting recent warnings from local health officials.

The combination of cocaine and opioids, known as a “speedball,” became prevalent in the 1980s when dealers introduced heroin into cocaine supplies. Dr. Mark Hurst, medical director for the Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services, warned Wednesday that speedballs of cocaine and the synthetic opioid fentanyl are causing overdose deaths to spike throughout the state, reported WKSU radio station.

The combination is even deadlier than the speedball mixtures of past decades that claimed the lives of comedy legend John Belushi and actor River Phoenix, Hurst noted.

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