First, let me start by saying that our hearts go out to the Shuemake family. Detective Fred Shuemake was a long time Middletown Police Officer and the loss of his daughter to heroin addiction is a loss to the entire Middletown city family. We will always consider Fred one of us.
There have been a couple more articles in the Journal on heroin in Middletown. One of the articles discussed my work to find funding to fight heroin and asked the question whether City funds should be spent on this issue.
That’s the wrong question. Every time MPD rolls up on a drug deal, your tax dollars are being spent on heroin. Every EMS overdose run. Every overdose death ending with an indigent burial uses your tax dollars to respond to heroin. In 2014, the City spent $1.5 million reactively responding to heroin. Chasing it. The correct question is whether we could spend that $1.5 million in a better way to slow or stop the spread of drug addiction in the city and the resulting crime and death that comes with heroin addiction.
I am in the process of assembling all of the proposals to fight heroin in a community-wide manner from the heroin summits this year and will publish the results probably towards the end of September or early October as the costs and details get completed.
At that point, I will be soliciting various partners to invest in pushing this epidemic back in our city. Part of the investment will likely be by the City using your tax dollars. My question is simple… if we are already spending $1.5 million annually responding to and chasing behind heroin addiction, what are we willing to invest to start fighting back to prevent the crime and death being caused right now on your streets in your city?
Your tax dollars are already being spent on this problem. I think we can spend them more efficiently and can reduce crime, drug addiction and overdose deaths in the City.