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PORTLAND, Maine (AP) - Portland city officials say they are alarmed by a sudden surge in the number of heroin overdoses in the city.

Five people overdosed in one 24-hour span in the city this week. One overdose was fatal.

They tell The Portland Press Herald they attribute the rise to addicts who have switched to heroin from the prescription painkiller OxyContin, which is becoming harder to obtain and more expensive. Meanwhile, heroin has become relatively cheap.

Police say in the past month, rescue workers were called for 14 unintentional drug overdoses that were not fatal, and three in which the user died. Most of the cases involved heroin.

In response, the city fire department has increased its supply of naloxone, which is administered to counter the effects of an overdose.

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