The shock wave that Montgomery County will likely see double the number of drug overdose deaths this year than in 2016 is reverberating across the nation’s airwaves.
Fox Business is just the most recent national newscast to interview Montgomery County Sheriff Phil Plummer about the opioid crisis bearing down on the county.
“It’s happening because of a perfect storm of our location, our economic problems. It’s been a challenge for all of us,” Plummer told Fox’s Maria Bartiromo on her show Tuesday morning.
Montgomery County has recorded at least 365 opioid-related deaths this year and surpassed 2016’s total drug-related deaths of 349 by the end of May.
Plummer said the county is fighting back with a number of programs, including putting Narcan in the hands of more officers, driving addicts to treatment and using recovery teams composed of police and social workers to educate addicts and families.
“We’re working hard on it but unfortunately we’re not making much progress,” he said.
Tony Shaffer, a Fox News contributor, was alarmed at the crisis enveloping the community near his alma mater, Wright State University.
“I’m appalled that where I went to college is actually at the heart of all of this,” Shaffer said.
Shaffer asked Plummer how the convergence of interstates 70 and 75 affected the drug traffic in the region.
“That’s the crossroads of America, so Dayton has become a source city for the heroin and the fentanyl straight from Mexico to Dayton, Ohio,” Plummer said.
Bartiromo asked Plummer what kind of assistance the federal government could provide local authorities.
Plummer said more funding was needed for a three-pronged defense: taking on the source, curbing demand, and educating the next generation, “from falling into this trap.”
“We need more boots on the ground,” Plummer said. “We’ve had a bad economic downturn. We’ve lost a lot of officers.”
Recently, both the state and city of Dayton have filed suit against some pharmaceutical companies over the opioid epidemic that has killed more than 21,000 Ohioans since 2007.
Asked by Bartiromo if he agrees with the lawsuits that allege the opioid crisis was caused in part by some drug manufacturers, Plummer said “yes, “definitely.”
“They have some culpability here. I support the lawsuits,” he said. “But unfortunately that’s a long-term solution to this problem, and we’ve been fighting this problem for four years. We need some immediate resources in this community.”
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