It’s been an interesting week. We continue to have national media outlets lurking around the city hoping to do another story about how bad opiate addiction is in Middletown. Forget the rest of Butler and Warren County. Forget Southwest Ohio. Forget Ohio. Forget that it is a national epidemic.
Somehow, they seem to want to focus on Middletown. I’ve been ambushed by national news reporters this week at the City building and at Triple Moon when I tried to get my morning coffee. Over the last weekend, national reporters posed as overheated runners and showed up at Fire Headquarters asking for a drink of water and then covertly started questioning the paramedics about heroin addiction.
We have so many wonderful things happening throughout the City. Employment is high. New construction is booming. Income tax is on pace for record levels this year. We have millions of dollars in capital projects underway throughout the city.
We just finished a great July 4th holiday followed by the Ohio Challenge and Warrior Weekend to Remember this past weekend. August 1st is National Night Out with the Middletown Division of Police. Please plan on coming out as a community at Lefferson Park on August 1.
Opiate addiction is a serious problem throughout the United States. While I understand the fascination by media, and we watch closely the effect of the epidemic on Middletown, let me put this into another perspective.
The national buzz started when Chief Lolli stated that if we stayed on current overdose levels, we could spend up to $100,000 on Narcan this year. That is a big number that caught everyone’s attention. Let’s add some context to that number.
If you go online at the City’s web page, you’ll see that the 2017 budget for the City of Middletown across all funds is $87.6 million. IF we actually stay on pace and spend $100,000 on Narcan, that represents 0.1% of the budget for 2017. One tenth of one percent….
We had approximately 600 overdoses in the first half of 2017. Another big number. Several of those overdoses were multiple runs for the same individual. The actual number of patients seen was just under 500. We are a city of about 50,000 people. That means overdoses are affecting about 1% of our population.
The devastating effects of addiction are real and the people involved need help. We have tried as a city to be proactive in that regard. At the end of the day, however, this is a problem that affects about 1% of our population and potentially drains one tenth of one percent of our budget to save lives with Narcan. Let’s keep the problem real, not only in terms of lives broken and lost, but also on the real actual effect opiate addiction has on the city’s residents, finances, and resources.
We’re not going bankrupt any time soon from Narcan use.