August 2017 Column: Opioid epidemic rages as debates over use of Naloxone continue


When my dad turns on the news, unless it is “Saturday Night Live,” I generally go to the next room because I know the next day he will be discussing it, and I will be trapped in the conversation. These days, a frequent topic has been naloxone and its role in law enforcement.

Naloxone, often referred to by its brand name Narcan, reverses part or all of an opioid overdose.

Evzio, the injectable form of Naloxone, costs $4,500 for only two injections. The outrageous prices strain counties and taxpayers, who are “forced” to pay for someone else’s repeated overdoses.

This mindset is similar to my father’s argument, but I am still not convinced. How could you let someone die knowing there is something that can save them?

I have heard of everyone from fifth graders to librarians learning how to administer Narcan. Yet, Butler county’s sheriff Richard K. Jones refuses to allow his officers to carry it. Since Ohio is at the center of the heroin epidemic, I was shocked and disgusted by this choice.

The opioid epidemic has been declared a national emergency, yet our officers are not even carrying Narcan, and after three overdoses, no emergency vehicle will be dispatched in Butler.

How many people will die because of this? Yes, it costs money, but how can this be an excuse knowing the consequences of not carrying life-saving medication?

However, the sheriff’s argument does in part have a basis-the overdosers are likely to repeat. Jones hopes that this will be another front in fighting the epidemic.

I have already heard too many heartbreaking stories, so I hope Jones’ actions do not lead to more.