One Ohio city councilman’s proposal regarding the opioid epidemic has received a great deal of coverage and attracted considerable condemnation this week.
Dan Picard, who serves on the council of Middletown, a city straddling Butler and Warren counties, proposed a “three strikes” policy last week regarding sending emergency personnel to aid addicts who overdose.
Under Picard’s plan, after two visits from an ambulance in the event of an overdose, authorities would no longer send emergency crews to an individual to resuscitate them.
Picard’s idea was swiftly condemned by those working in the recovery fields as a “Let them die” approach.
His thinking may be common among a great many people, but, once the addiction issue hits someone close to you, such an approach, justifiably, can be called inhumane.
Addiction is, first and foremost, a disease, and cutting off aid in cases of repeat overdoes is no more acceptable than refusing to visit someone with a history of heart disease.
Many may look down on those who become addicted, but the problem can strike those of any walk of life.
A former first lady, Betty Ford, made her battles with substance abuse well known and public, eventually recovering to establish the treatment clinic that bears her name, while last year saw the deaths of musician Prince and actress Carrie Fisher, both successful in their careers, but overcome by addiction.
Picard may be frustrated with repeat incidents, thinking those involved will not help themselves, but there are many stories from those who were able to recover after multiple overdoses and seeming hopelessness.
As wrongheaded as Picard’s approach is, his stated frustrations that led to it are understandable.
Small cities and villages are often strapped for cash and, as he said, the opiate epidemic threatens to exacerbate this situation.
But, rather than cutting off help to those in trouble, the focus should, instead be placed on alleviating the financial burden.
More resources need to be allocated at the state and federal level to help communities deal with this crisis.
In Lawrence County, we are blessed with a number of recovery organizations who work tirelessly on this issue, many of which could use additional funding.
The opiate epidemic is a state and national crisis and, only by working at all levels to tackle it as a recovery, rather than criminal issue, can it be ended.
Now, more than ever, is the time to become more dedicated to solutions, rather than give in to frustration.
(c)2017 The Ironton Tribune (Ironton, Ohio)
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