It’s not secret that heroine abuse has been massively on the rise in America. In fact, drug overdoses are now the leading cause of death for Americans under 50. It’s gotten so bad, that some cities in Ohio are forced to actively store corpses in refrigerator trucks because the morgues are overflowing with overdose victims.
One of the only ways to resuscitate a drug user experiencing an opioid overdose is to give him a shot of a drug called Narcan. While Narcan has been successful in most instances, the increasing strength of opioid drugs have required more uses of the nasal spray to save victim’s lives. Naturally, the price of Narcan has skyrocketed almost ten times since the drug was introduced back in 2014. That’s leading to some cities spending an exorbitant of money on the drug so dispatchers can quickly and effectively save lives when responding to an overdose call.
Middletown, Ohio, in particular, is struggling with how to meet these rising costs, WLWT5 NBC reports. They’ve already spent three times as much on Narcan halfway through this year than they did in all of 2017. In order to curb costs, the city has introduced a controversial proposal whereby drug users are put on a three strike system. After your second revival using Narcan, a drug user would be forced to work community service until they’ve essentially paid back the cost of the drug. After that? You’re just going to have to die.
City council member Dan Picard—who first proposed the three-strike system—explains that while anybody dispatched to a scene is obligated to use Narcan, the new system would give the dispatcher leeway in sending any help at all:
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… 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
Again, if help is sent, they’ll use the drug, but now the dispatcher would be put in the difficult position of trying to determine if this was a user’s third offense and ostensibly whether or not the user should be allowed to live.
This is yet another instance where Americans are attempting to blame suffering individuals rather than the companies perpetuating the issue. A better way to attack the problem would be to force the makers of Narcan to stop hiking their prices, and penalize the companies distributing millions and millions of these easy-to-access opioid pills to meet an illegal demand. Letting people die as a cost-saving measure (and ultimately a profits-saving measure, for these bloated pharmaceutical companies) cannot possibly be the right answer.
The three-strike system has yet to be adopted, and until it is, the Middletown fire department is applying for grants and seeking donations to purchase more Narcan. Ironically, Middletown is also the hometown of J.D. Vance—maybe overdose victims can simply pull themselves up by the bootstraps?