Much has been said about the opioid epidemic in the US. Politicians have used the crisis as a rallying cry for better addiction services, the CDC has prompted doctors to cut back on painkiller prescriptions, but despite these efforts, the epidemic of opioid use and overdose continues to grow nationwide.
Middletown Ohio is a town in the southwest of Ohio with a reported 2010 census population of 48,694. According to the local Journal-News, there were 532 EMS calls for opioid overdoses in 2016, that number has risen to 577 in the first 6 months of 2017. Also, according to the Journal-News, there were 74 reported deaths from opioid deaths in the city in 2016. That number is already 51 in the first 6 months of 2017.
This Ohio town is plagued with opioid use and overdose. Middletown is in Butler County Ohio. The county coroner investigated 175 deaths in the first 4 months of 2017 in Butler County. 96 of those deaths were fatal drug overdoses, making overdose the leading cause of death in the county.
City Councilman’s Proposal
The town has been so overwhelmed by the staggering numbers of overdose emergencies that one councilman has made a controversial proposal.
Republican Councilman Dan Picard has suggested a three-strikes penalty for EMS services. He has proposed that EMS should not respond to render potentially lifesaving aid to an overdose victim who has required EMS intervention on two previous occasions.
His policy would essentially require EMS to allow overdose victims with a history of multiple overdoses, to die. Picard told the local Journal-News “John Smith obviously doesn’t care much about his life, but he’s expending a lot of resources, and we can’t afford it.”
He added, “I want to send a message to the world that you don’t want to come to Middletown to overdose because someone might not come with Narcan and save your life. We need to put a fear about overdosing in Middletown.”