It’s the kind of national attention that Dayton and Montgomery County would rather be without.
But having one of the nation’s most concentrated drug overdose death rates is simply too devastating to ignore by big news outlets, filmmakers and even a billionaire founder of Facebook.
Here is a snapshot of recent national stories and social media posts focused on Dayton and Montgomery County’s distinct and distressing place in the nation’s opioid crisis.
The people of Dayton are finding real, tangible, powerful solutions to the crisis. Yet, their hard work and dedication is overshadowed by the media’s pornographic obsession with depicting addiction as nothing more than needles, spoons and dead bodies. This is irresponsible, and it undermines the efforts of organizations like Miracle Makers and the Dayton Public Health Department.
“In Montgomery County, the number of drug-overdose deaths—the vast majority involving at least one opioid—has climbed from a hundred and twenty-seven, in 2010, to three hundred and forty-nine, in 2016.”
“Most nights, the freezer in Montgomery County's morgue is stacked floor-to-ceiling with bodies. Dr. Kent Harshbarger, the coroner whose office services more than 30 counties, estimates that 60% to 70% of these corpses are the result of an opioid overdose.”
“The next few weeks of congressional votes on a new health care bill are enormously important. It’s possible nothing will be done, and thousands more will die in the killing fields of Montgomery County and every corner of America. No place is safe from this epidemic.”
“Scott Weidle is struggling with the death of his son Daniel, who died from a heroin overdose 18 months ago, one day after Christmas.”
“Officials in Montgomery County, Ohio, blame America's opioid crisis for an ignoble title: the overdose capital of America.”
“Like much of Ohio, Dayton finds itself smack dab in the middle of a heroin tsunami that is stretching the city to its breaking point.”
“In some Ohio counties, deaths from heroin have virtually disappeared. Instead, the culprit is fentanyl or one of its many analogues. In Montgomery County, home to Dayton, of the 100 drug overdose deaths recorded in January and February, only three people tested positive for heroin; 99 tested positive for fentanyl or an analogue.”
”What makes Dayton an epicenter for opioids? High unemployment, the decline of manufacturing and geography all are factors, policy experts say. While the rest of the nation is gripped in the throes of a heroin problem, Ohio has moved on to darker and more powerful drugs.”
“The cooler is full at the Montgomery County coroner's office in downtown Dayton, Ohio.
“White sheets are stacked neatly on cool, metal pull-out trays on racks, the space between just big enough for the body that lies beneath.
“Not all of them are overdoses, but most of them are. Not all of those are opioid overdoses, but most of them are.”
“Everyone in Dayton is affected by this. One woman told me her daughter, who is a recovering heroin addict, got promoted to hostess at the restaurant where she works because the last hostess overdosed in the bathroom. Another woman whose husband is a police officer said her family hears overdose calls coming over the radio every night. The Dayton police department once responded to 29 overdose calls in a single day. She's worried it's all going to seem normal to her young daughter.”
“The bodies just keep arriving. On Thursday, only two days into February, the coroner’s office in Dayton, Ohio, had already handled 25 deaths — 18 caused by drug overdoses. In January, the office processed 145 cases in which the victims’ bodies had been destroyed by opioids.”
“Peter Sarsgaard — whose own family has battled with drug addiction — travels to Dayton, Ohio, to investigate how the city, once the very definition of industrial invention and middle-class America, has become the epicenter of an epidemic and a symbol of our age of inequality.”
Previous Dayton Daily News coverage of the epidemic:
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