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Administrative, EMS, Patient Care, Politics

Stop Responding for Overdoses? Sign Me Up!

Middletown, Ohio.  Population 48,000 and change.  About 1/3 the number of people who pass through my service area in a day, has an opiod problem.  As the noted thespian Robin Williams stated in the motion picture Good Morning Vietnam “There isn’t a marijuana problem in Vietnam…it’s everywhere.”

Middletown Ohio Councilman Dan Picard (No relation to the Starfleet Captain) is frustrated according to this story where he asked if EMS can just stop responding to overdose calls.  He applied the ever so American baseball “Three Strikes” correlation and asked if EMS could just not respond after a third ODcall to the same address.

Sign me up dude!

There’s nothing I hate more than going to the same address and dealing with the same people for the same conditions.  Trouble is, your hamlet has done an incredibly poor job at dealing with the opiod problem and this is the fallout.  OH, and how do we differentiate between a foul and a strike?  After all the first 2 count but if they keep hitting it back and into the bleachers what do we do?

In the story Mr Picard notes that most of the OD patients are transients and not even residents of Middletown.  Well, shoot, Dan.  There goes your entire argument.

You see, when the call comes in it rarely mentions an “OD” or “Overdose” and since you said most of the overdoses are transients there is no consistent address to apply to them and deny the services.

But you know who we CAN start scaling back on?

Diabetics.  They are usually at home and the medications we give them are on par cost wise with narcan.

Seizure patients.  Again, usually at home or wearing a medic alert bracelet, the medications we give these folks are actually narcotics.  Imagine the cost savings if we stopped responding to their home after the third time we have to stop their seizure and get them breathing again.

I get it.  You’re frustrated that people come into your little corner of the world, do drugs in the open, then have to be revived by your EMS system.  Costs are skyrocketing and you may not be able to have fireworks at this year’s 4th of July party.  I get it.

Here’s what you need to get, Mr Picard:

An understanding of addiction and a plan to prevent it.

The story points out that a new addiction center just opened and is starting to make a dent, but just a quick search has Middletown as a hot bed of illegal drug trafficking.  Maybe you should hire some more cops to intercept all of the fentanyl laced heroin and crystal meth rolling through town before holding back on the narcan?  After all, does that double in OD cases reported include home prescription ODs?  You know, of the people who you might actually give 2 cents about?

Oh, and one last thing before I go…you are quoted as saying

“I want to send a message to the world that you don’t want to come to Middletown to overdose because someone might not come with Narcan and save your life,” Picard said. “We need to put a fear about overdosing in Middletown.”

If withholding care is how you handle things I don’t think many people want to goto Middletown in the first place.  Except to get drugs, which appears to be remarkably easy.

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2 Comments

  1. Kira June 25, 2017 8:00 pm

    I love the statements made here. Totally agree that you can’t intercept an OD call when dispatch is alerting EMT. EMT however will recognized the address if they have been there multiple times. I believe more addiction rehabilitation centers need to be opened. And once those that are on the “3 strike rule” have struck out, need to be sent to jail for at least 6 months. This is a deep subject

  2. MotorCop June 27, 2017 3:08 pm

    I’m disappointed because you never quoted Mr. Picard as saying, “Make it so.”

    Oh…and imagine if this kind of shit was happening in CA…you know where drugs are barely illegal.

    Where’d I put that retirement countdown again?

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