Fire Station

The Journal ran an article about the City potentially converting a closed fire station to a Post-Treatment Recovery Center.  There were several comments on the Journal web page that included:

“Let the idiots die that make the choice to shove heroin in themselves.”

“How about a row of Noose’s lined up on Donham Square were we can Hang the Dopers and Pusher’s every Sunday Afternoon and the Have Famous Recipe cater a Chicken Lunch! All Drug Users and Sellers Deserve and Need the Death Penalty!”

“The cost to revive the heroin addict doesn’t have to be that high. Thin the herd. If they don’t care any more for their lives than to take the risk of dying with each usage, why should we, the people, care? Just let ’em go. Apparently it’s what they want to do as they are willing to roll the dice on death each time.”

It’s just not that simple folks.  Some of addiction does result from poor choices.  Others get addicted to pain medication from a work or sports injury and convert to heroin once they are addicted and can’t get prescriptions any more.

Some people get addicted to heroin with only one use of the drug.  Would you condemn your son or daughter to death later in a car accident because they “chose” not to wear their seat belt one time?  Does someone really deserve to die for one incredibly stupid mistake in judgment?

Drug addiction and the heroin epidemic across the county is more complicated than the Journal statements above.  If it was simple and easy and straight forward, we as a country would have already solved it and moved on to other problems.

So let’s talk about the Fire Station for a couple of minutes.  We monitor locations and type of EMS and Fire runs being made on an ongoing basis.  When we looked at closing the Tytus station it was because other areas of the city were seeing much more activity and needed additional EMS and Fire capacity to handle the increased work load.  We looked at activity, runs times and the effect closing the station would have citywide.  The short answer is that we will get to more people, faster, citywide by repositioning equipment and staff and by closing the  Tytus Station.

Second, I have instructed Fire Administration to start updating a 2010 study on the optimum number and locations of fire stations in the City.  Most of our Fire Stations are at least 40 years old and the city has grown to the highway in that time.  Our current fire stations are not best positioned for the newer geographic layout of the city.  When the study is completed this year, I’ll be working with Fire Administration to start looking at where we should relocate fire stations to best serve the city moving forward.  My guess is that it will take several years to find the prime locations, purchase land, design stations and then finally build new Fire Stations.  We are working on the process now and that is the best long term solution to the problem.

Third, the Post Treatment Center being proposed is a Post-Rehab facility to help addicts stay sober, get back to work, and to reconnect with their families.  The Tytus fire house will be the last place that you will see heroin in the city.   The residents will be drug tested. If the former addict relapses, they are kicked out of the house and back into rehab.  If they bring users anywhere near the fire station, they will also be kicked out.   The whole point of this facility is to provide a drug-free, safe area for  the former addict to get back on his feet, get back to work, deal with any other mental health issues or medical issues and to leave behind the friends and poor influences that led to addiction in the first place.  It will be staffed with experts 24/7 and will be operating in cooperation with MPD to swiftly and permanently deal with any misbehavior on or near the facility.   Your Police Department supports this plan as one piece of many to start dealing with addiction in Middletown.

Fourth, the grants mentioned in the article are not the City’s grants.  They are grants obtained by Butler County non-profits for this project through the State.  We would govern the use and renovations of the fire house in our lease with the non-profit but it is not the City’s money being spent on this project to date.

14 thoughts on “Fire Station

  1. The problem I have with it is I live close to this fire station and I see drugs dealt everyday I have called the police reported it and had license plates there is nothing done it still continues . I don’t think Middletown has the police force to handle or have this in this city. It’s getting worse . I don’t want to see anyone die but a lot of city taxes are going on this. Use the money to get more police force for this falling apart city !

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    • It is certainly a large problem for the city both in expense and in manpower with public safety. I will offer this in response to your concern that it’s getting worse. Major crime (violence and drugs) and calls for police service were down over 15% in 2015 from 2014 numbers. EMS runs and heroin deaths are about even 2014-2015, so the overall drug problem continues.

      The addiction problem is not a situation that we can arrest our way out of. The jail is full already. This is a problem that will continue to be discussed and reviewed ongoing. Unfortunately, there is no silver bullet to solve the issue. There are pros and cons to each possible piece of the action plan. We may or may not get it right as we move forward, but it’s imperative that we start trying different ways to make an impact.

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      • **THIS IS A POST MY SON MADE** There’s a lot of valid points in here and people that have been hurt in the wake of this heroin epidemic – I’m coming up on 3 yrs clean have full custody of my 5 yr old and shared with my 7yr old and I work full time it took me 2 rehab try’s to get clean – it was hard – but did you know unless your in a jail program there is only 13 beds available for men in the area and that’s in Hamilton. And it’s because they prioritize the women first cause most of them are pregnant or have kids which is fine but I had to wait 6 months to get into rehab and thank god everyday that I didn’t die in these ducked up streets we call home but before you go bashing everyone that has done drugs maybe you should educate yourself a bit more I’ve literally lost everything – was staying in a house with no running water just needles and dope and whores I’ve seen hell and for some reason that’s not what God had planned for me he pulled me outta the situation and now my life couldn’t be better . Moral of the story is we need to help these people or just keep turning your backs till its your house one ove these drug addicts is running into to steal whatever so they can get high or worse they have you staring down the wrong end of a 9mm and they don’t give 2 f*!@’s about your life so it’s either we help however we can or we let it control OUR community PERIOD ……AND I WILL NOT ARGUE BACK UNTIL YOU HAVE STEPPED IN MY SHOES YOU REALLY DON’T UNDERSTAND. ..thanks for reading and may God look over you and your family’s ** This was a post my Son put out there .. Very true words – We need to help them stay clean !!

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    • Ohio ranks #2 in the nation due to opiate/heroin related deaths. We must stand united as a community joining together, standing together against this epidemic. Celebrating Restoration has weekly outreach meetings at The Triple Moon Coffee Co. on Thursdays at 7pm. We are getting people off the streets and assisting in relocation, building support networks etc…- we need more volunteers/help. Our organization has assisted over 100 people onto the path of recovery since September 2014. We just placed two into treatment on 1/25/2016 and hopefully two more next week. Please consider attending our local Coalition for a Healthy Middletown. I know our City Officials are doing their best efforts collaborating with other organizations to make Middletown a safer place. Together We Can Make A Difference and Make Middletown A Safer Place!

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  2. I am a little torn with this one. As a Social Worker, I totally support programs like this and the needle exchange program or really most programs that are for the betterment of a person. I also support the city when positive things are being done to make this city better. Some of the feedback I have received from friends in the area that are homeowners is they worry about their property value, as they should. So many homeowners have taken big losses because of the past housing market, combined with the state of some of the city, they just don’t want another blow to the value of their homes. There has to be some kind of happy middle that might be able to be reached. We want to help the people of the community of course, but we can’t help the ones costing taxpayers without thinking of the taxpayers also. We as a city can’t afford to keep losing tax paying citizens that help keep this city a float. I don’t know the cure or the fix, but it is something that should be thought about so everyone is being helped, not just one side.

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    • The best strategy against this epidemic is education, awareness and prevention while assisting those struggling with this disease of addiction by helping them find appropriate treatment, building healthy support networks and assist individuals with aftercare once he or she leaves treatment. Join us at our weekly community outreach meetings at The Triple Moon Coffee Co. Every Thursdays at 7pm.

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  3. I understand your frustration with high drug use in your area. As for the police, we all know the war of drugs fail. The police can do what they can. Getting people off drugs and keep them off drugs can have a lasting positive effect not only on the person, family, but the community. I live in Mayfield, another high drug area. If you want to build a halfway house in this area, I say bring it on. We are not afraid of people trying to get off and stay off drugs.

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    • Margie, you are right we cannot arrest our way out of the situation! We need to break the stigma of addiction and work on saving lives. Join us at our Celebrating Restoration Community Outreach on Thursdays at 7pm – The Triple Moon Coffee Co 1100 Central Ave.

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  4. If the plan for a half way house is a go in the future. The most important thing first is to ensure that you have the proper staff. I won’t go into a lot of details but I worked as a nurse in a drug rehab. We had untrained staff who talked down to clients, disrespected them verbally. It was a power struggle for some workers to be in control at every aspect of the client’s recovery. The companies CEO fitted in as a negative person in the client’s recovery. I was very displeased that I couldn’t step up and make the appropriate changes for the clients. But felt that I made a difference in some of their lives. The company is still up and running inappropriately but their miss use of monies and document cover up will catch up with them in due time.

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    • Thanks for the feedback. As you can see by the original comments in the Journal and the comments on here, this is a sensitive subject with no obvious, clear solution. Every potential action or inaction has consequences. This project may or may not help overall. I continue to push on the side of taking action. Inaction continues the crime and deaths in the city. I’d prefer to try to take action and fail than just sit and watch the burglaries and deaths continue unabated. There is always going to be the “not in my neighborhood” argument… and it’s a valid argument. We’ll continue to look at all options as we move forward.

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      • I applaud you for trying something for the city. I think either way it goes, someone is going to be unhappy. I love Middletown and remember it’s greatness, I support actions that are trying to bring our city back! Yourself and the other city members have a long, hard job to do to figure this out. Good luck!

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  5. By the grace of God, I am a recovering addict, and although I have never tried heroin, cocaine or any of the “harder drugs”….I certainly know the pain of addiction to alcohol and prescription drugs. People need to pray that God will help them understand the problems that lead to addictive tendencies in someone. We aren’t just foolish, uncaring and undisciplined people with no regard for our lives or others. In general, most addicts have a hole to fill in their hearts and lives, from lack of love and encouragement, education and proper attention growing up…..the list goes on and on. When someone uses to begin with, it is ALWAYS a symptom of something else that preceded it in that person’s development. I’m not saying it’s ok, and I fully understand that these drugs turn people into animals…..but it’s the drug and the need for it that causes the bad behavior. I thank God every day that he reached me right at my worst moment and pulled me out, and has continued to give me strength to fight this problem every day. I also now know the painful struggle of others and pray for God to do the same for them. I believe in any help we can give them…..for the Bible says that we are to” love one another as he loves us”. One of these people who recover and get strong may be the very person who helps you or your family out of a bad situation one day. Lastly, people who fight through this battle and come out on the other side are the strongest people in this world, and the most compassionate. We need to build them up, not tear them down, it only makes the situation worse.

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  6. It could work if they seriously enforced the rules and did strict drug testing. The ones in Hamilton County don’t seem to be doing a very good job. You let addicts that used together, live together? That seems like an epic fail. I see why people don’t want these houses in their neighborhoods, but you must know the addicts are already there. Find the proper, no tolerance staff to run it, and it just might help keep a few people clean. It has to end. It’s destroying too many people’s lives that aren’t choosing to live this way.

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  7. I see this like the aftermath of a tornado and a raging war at the same time. There is a path of destruction that is left in rubble. If you want to recover you must rebuild and that means removing the debris, picking up the hammer and one nail at a time rebuild. Who has lived through a tornado and not sifted to find the remnants? If you find a person trapped in the rubble do you first ask if they are addicted to drugs or alcohol before trying to help them?
    If you believe that it won’t somehow effect your family and friends give it time. It has my family and friends and that is not how I live. How many of you would admit that at some point in life you sampled any pill, weed, or other drug? If you did and were able to walk away good for you! I will say this makes you “one of them”, but you were able to escape.
    If you think things can’t be changed, abandon your life here and move away. Make sure to let us know where it is perfectly safe so we can follow! The war is raging on our soil and we have to defend the land and what is ours. Not every battle is won, but every battle we fight gives us a chance to claim victory. This is our city and we either rollover and allow drugs to overthrow us or we fight. Men and women are risking their lives on foreign soil for each of us, I don’t think it is too much to ask us to defend the homeland for them and their families.
    I had a drug house across from me for 4 years, I called downtown and invited narcotics to plant in my home to observe since it was openly outdoors. It was not the police who got them out, but “being watched” as they were told. They have been gone three years now and I know there are yet others nearby. Can neighbors make a difference? You betcha!
    One unit or government person can’t single handedly change our city. If you watch there are several angles they are working to attack the problem. But if the citizens don’t do our part to bring change and overcome what has taken a strong hold we will lose and so will our children, grandchildren, and so on.

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