A Middletown, Ohio, city council member has proposed canceling emergency responses to opioid overdose cases to save money and “put a fear” in addicts.
The city is on track to spend $100,000 this year on Narcan, used to reverse opioid overdoses, when it had budgeted $10,000, reports the Hamilton Journal-News. The report by Middleton City Manager Doug Adkins prompted Councilman Dan Picard to suggest the city stop responding to such calls.
“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 said. “We need to put a fear about overdosing in Middletown.”
Picard asked if the law required the city to respond to overdoses, reported the newspaper. He also proposed issuing a court summons to people who overdose and requiring them to complete community service to repay the city for the cost of emergency treatment.
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Adkins replied that Middletown could eliminate or privatize emergency services altogether, and said he would look into the idea.
Middletown, population 48,791 in 2014, is located in the southwestern part of Ohio between Dayton and Cinncinnati.
The United States faces an opiod overdose epidemic, reports the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Opioids, including prescription drugs and heroin, killed more than 33,000 people in 2015. Nearly half of all opioid overdose deaths involve a prescription medication.