The United States is in the grip of an opioid addiction crisis. Opioids, which include heroin and prescription painkillers like oxycodone and vicodin, have caused overdoses throughout the country and left many families feeling helpless to save their loved ones. In 2015 the opiate epidemic took more than 33,000 lives. Its effects are indiscriminate touching every income bracket, race and sex.
While public officials try to create policies to battle the nation’s addiction, first responders already have a tool that can save the life of someone in throes of an overdose. Naloxone is an opioid antidote that can be administered to a person and within five minutes can stop the effects of the opioids in their system. This drug, while not the panacea to America’s drug problem, has saved thousands of lives giving victims and their families a second chance at life.
But while most first responders happily carry the drug, Butler County Ohio Sheriff, Richard Jones refuses to allow his officers to do so. Even though his county is at the heart of Ohio’s narcotics crisis. His reason? Because it’s too expensive.
Jones’ county is on track to suffer more than 250 overdoses this year. But it seems that the sheriff - who refuses to believe that addiction as a sickness - isn’t willing to do what is necessary to save the lives of the people he has sworn to protect.
What’s worse, many experts say that by not supplying his deputies with naloxone he is also putting his own deputies in danger. Some synthetic opioids are now so strong that even touching the “equivalent [of] just a few grains of salt can be deadly.” In fact several officers have been saved by the antidote after coming into contact with the synthetic drug.
Sheriff Jones’ hardline anti-addiction views are putting people's lives at risk. It’s time that he put his personal beliefs aside and opt to save lives. Please sign the petition and ask Jone’s to require his officers to carry naloxone.