Middletown, OH - In an effort to fight rising costs to deal with overdoses and its heroin problem, the city of Middleton wants to implement a controversial proposal that would let addicts die.
City Council member Dan Picard has proposed a 'three strikes system'. After a person overdoses twice, and is revived with Narcan, that person has to perform a certain number of hours of community service, equal to the amount of money spent on the emergency response, according to WLWT.
The third strike is the controversial part. Picard said, "If the dispatcher determines that the person who's overdosed is someone who's been part of the program for two previous overdoses and has not completed the community service and has not cooperated in the program, then we wouldn't dispatch,"
He said that this is not the answer to the city's drug problem; but an attempt to save the city's finances. Picard said, "We've got to do what we've got to do to maintain our financial security and this is just costing us too much money."
In response, the Middleton Fire Department said that 'by law' it has to give Narcan if it responds to an overdose. That appears to be why the city wants to avoid telling the fire department about the overdoses.
Overdoses in the city have already doubled for this year. In 2016, there were a total of 532 overdoses. As of mid-June, there have been 577 overdoses so far this year.
In 2016, the MFD spent more than $11,000 on Narcan, while this year, $30,000 has already been spent. Officials said that the increased amount is due to more overdoses and the strength of the heroin that an addicts are using.
Middleton Fire Chief Paul Lolli said, "We are faced with stress on our services, particularly the EMS services where we can do six to eight opioid overdose runs a day."
Legal advisors are still studying the city's proposal While they wait to see what happens, the MFD is applying for grants, and trying to raise money through donations for additional Narcan.