Jul 05, 2017 11:05 AM EDT
Middletown City Council member Dan Picard has proposed a new penalty that would allow EMS to not respond to an emergency call from an overdose victim if the victim had already called EMS twice in the past to be saved from an overdose. Call it the "three strikes and you're dead" rule.
I'm not sure how this would work since when you are overdosing, you usually are not the one that makes the call to 911. Would paramedics arrive on the scene and interview the other people in the room to decide if the victim had already called EMS twice before? Perhaps there would be some sort of a punch card system or "overdose stickers" given out like they used to do at Subway sandwich shops. "Collect three and get a free funeral."
It is clear, now that Picard is receiving some backlash in the media, that this proposed law was not well thought out. One police officer compared not helping a drug overdose victim to not performing CPR on an obese person because of their dietary habits.
"Councilman Picard's comments went viral and we've received hate mail, national news coverage and overloaded voice mail and email in-boxes," Middletown City Manager Douglas Adkins wrote in a blog post on Wednesday.
Picard is sticking by his statement and defended his thought process.
"We need to put a fear about overdosing in Middletown" said Picard.
Picard cited the frustration that he feels as a government official who works and lives in a town where drug overdoses are rampant. Middletown is on pace to spend about $100,000 on the overdose drug Narcan this year.
"John Smith obviously doesn't care much about his life, but he's expending a lot of resources and we can't afford it," Picard said.
Opioid addiction is an epidemic sweeping the country. Opioid overdoses killed more than 33,000 people in 2015. According to Statnews.com, opioids could kill over 500,000 people in the next decade. Drug overdoses already kill more Americans under the age of 50 than anything else. Government officials are at a loss of what to do to combat the problem.
Surely they can think of something better than letting the victim die. Research shows that drug education programs and drug treatment programs are the most effective way of combating the epidemic. The Middletown, Ohio policy on reviving drug overdoses has not changed according to Adkins.
"We are responding to every call and rendering aid as needed. We give Narcan where it is appropriate. Period" said Adkins.
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