By CBSLA Staff

PASADENA (CBSLA) — Seven men overdosed on opium in Pasadena in less than 24 hours this weekend, and the incidents are under investigation to determine whether they are linked.

Opium-related deaths are not common in Pasadena, and authorities are extremely concerned about the increase in such deaths in less than 24 hours between Friday and Saturday afternoons, Pasadena police Lt. Bill Grisafe said.

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The first report of an overdose was at 4:30 p.m. Friday. Pasadena Fire paramedics took an unresponsive person to a local hospital suffering from respiratory distress consistent with opiate overdose. The last overdose happened at 1 p.m. Saturday, when a man found dead in the 1700 block of Casitas Avenue was reported to police. Grisafe said that evidence suggests narcotics were the likely cause of his death.

All of the overdoses involved men ranging in age from their 30s to their 60s. Three of the men died, one person was in grave condition, and three others were taken to local hospitals and are recovering, police said. Naloxone, or NARCAN, was given to two of the surviving men.

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Paramedics and police officers are equipped with nasal spray naloxone, which can counteract the effects of opium overdose if administered in a timely manner, police said.

Toxicology reports on the three men who died are pending, but they appeared to have died as the result of ingesting an opiate, Grisafe said.

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Anyone with information about these overdoses can call Pasadena police at (626) 744-4241.