Miamisburg fights drug overdose deaths



2011 – 3

2012 -11

2013 – 13

2014 – 11

2015 – 10

Source: Miamisburg Police Department

Miamisburg is using several methods in seeking to stem a rise in accidental overdose deaths.

The city has seen four straight years of double-digit unintentional drug overdose deaths. But it is "holding its own," according to a local judge, while Ohio's numbers jumped 18 percent from 2013 to 2014, eighth nationally, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Miamisburg police last year began using Naloxone, known as Narcan, which acts to block the effects of opioids - painkillers such as Vicodin, OxyContin, Percocet, morphine and codeine - that are often precursors to heroin use. They are also taking “proactive” approaches while working with the municipal court on enforcement options.

The city has seen accidental overdose deaths jump from three in 2011 to 11 the next year. From 2013-15, those numbers were 13, 11 and 10, respectively, records show.

Among the methods being used by police are partnering with BOGG Ministries, the Montgomery County Drug Free Coalition, courts, hospitals and participating in neighborhood meetings, according to police.

Another way police are combatting drug overdoses is to sometimes charge offenders with a different crime so they can have a path to recovery, said Capt. Tom Thompson.

“Our goal is,” he told city council members earlier this month, “is to create an environment where they can get help. And so we will actually cite them with inducing panic.

“Sometimes we take them to jail right away,” Thompson added. “Sometimes, medically it’s not safe to do that and we take them to the hospital.”

Medical treatment is being used for those overdosing on prescription opioids.

Miamisburg Municipal Judge Robert Rettich said he is seeking to get opioid users help before that transition to heroin occurs. One method used in Rettich’s court – which also includes Germantown, German Twp., Miami Twp. and West Carrollton - is getting them into a program using Vivitrol, which helps prevent relapses to opioid dependence.

“Statistically when you look at this, you have a very, very low probability of saving people who are addicted to heroin,” he said. “Not even a quarter of the time does it work.

A “medically assisted (method) has a far, far higher success rate,” Rettich added. “With Vivitrol it can be as high as 80” percent.

The judge said that battle is growing more complex because of the increased availability of a stronger and more lethal fentanyl, an opioid tied to an increasing number of overdose deaths.

“A lot of times when people overdose, it’s not heroin,” he said. “It’s fentanyl.”

Miamisburg Councilwoman Sara Clark has sought to address the drug problem with neighborhood meetings. While commending the approach by police, she said more involvement is needed across the community.

“What we really need to do as a community is put together an educational program where we can get into the schools – really as early as sixth or seventh grade,” Clark said.

Police Chief John Sedlak said the department has had dialogue with the school district.

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