I think most of us agree that we shouldn’t let people die in the streets if we can prevent it. I don’t think that’s a very radical statement, especially for listeners of this show. But apparently there’s a Sherriff in Ohio that disagrees with me. Ohio, the state that gave us the concept of just being average, a university whose mascot should be a sexual predator, and also voted for Donald Trump in 2016, is now bringing us Sherriff Richard K. Jones, the paragon of virtue in Butler county.
Jones has said on multiple occasions that he will not give his deputies Naloxone, the lifesaving Opioid antidote that has been successful in saving so many from Opioid overdose. Many police departments across the country are giving their officers Naloxone kits to save lives, but according to Jones, “I’m not the one that decides if people live or die. They decide that when they stick that needle in their arm” YES YOU ARE DICK, YOU DECIDE IF THEY LIVE OR DIE IF YOU HAVE THE ABILITY TO PROVIDE YOUR OFFICERS WITH LIFESAVING MEDICATION THAT COULD SAVE THEIR LIVES, AND YOU CHOOSE NOT TO!!!
You see, the Opioid epidemic in this country is one that almost every single elected official in this country has professed to care about, and it is far from an America only issue, countries across the world have been dealing with the effects of the massive growth of Heroin use and painkiller dependency. Real lives are at risk, it is not theoretical, many police officers and firemen report using naloxone more and more as this crisis has grown, and Butler county is in the center of one of the most effected areas.
Dick jones goes on to say that his department doesn’t give injections for bee stings or diabetics, so why should they provide naloxone, calling it a burden to the taxpayers. To be clear, Naloxone costs only about 35$ a dose, I suspect that calling out a coroner’s van costs more than that for Butler country, but it is the sheer callousness that bothers me so much. Yes, Naloxone is not a solution to the Opioid problem, it does not cure addiction, but if an addict dies they have no chance of overcoming their addiction.
Beyond that, there is a huge difference between giving insulin to diabetics, or epinephrine to someone in allergic shock and a dying heroin addict. The Heroin addict is an outcast, someone society doesn’t care about. In this very county, a city councilman actually proposed a “three strikes” style policy on sending ambulances to resuscitate people for Opioid issues. That’s right, these people’s response to the Opioid problem seems to be, let them die. I don’t know if they are seriously think the answer to the problem is to let all the addicts die and the problem will magically go away, but this is in the United States for Christs sake. We should never, ever, have a government refuse to send an ambulance because they don’t think someone deserves it.
This problem has no one solution. We need to increase heroin prevention, stop prescribing so many opioid painkillers, and make treatment programs more readily available to addicts. But letting those whose life has spiraled downward to the point of an overdose die in the streets is not the answer. And Sherriff Dick Jones can stick that in his pipe and smoke it.