Councilman Dan Picard of Middletown, Ohio, has come under fire for pitching a controversial — and frankly, inhumane — plan to relieve the city’s financial burden that comes with treating drug overdose victims.
The 61-year-old proposed a “three strikes” limit for those battling addiction and suggested issuing court summons to overdose patients, requiring them to work off the cost of their emergency medical treatment and the life-saving Narcan drug by completing community service.
That’s not all.
He also said the city needs to “think outside of the box” and that medics need to stop responding to heroin overdose victims if they have been treated twice already.
“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,” Picard told Ohio’s Journal-News. “We need to put a fear about overdosing in Middletown.”
The number of overdose incidents has seen a significant spike in Middletown, according to WFMY News.
Last year, Middletown recorded 532 overdoses. This year, the number surpassed last year’s statistics as there have been 577 overdoses so far, just halfway through the year.
“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,” the councilman told WLWT-TV.
The city reportedly allocated $10,000 in this year’s budget for Narcan, which revives overdose victims. However, it is on pace to spend $100,000 on the drug.
Meanwhile, Middletown Fire Chief Paul Lolli said even though he understood Picard’s frustration, the medics will continue to respond to overdose calls and administer Narcan to save lives until they are officially told to do otherwise.
He also pointed out how medics take an oath to help sick and injured.
“This is our standing order,” he said. “Our guys operate under standing orders and protocols set by the medical director. Unless directed otherwise, that’s what we have to do.”