MIAMISBURG, Ohio (WDTN) – Miamisburg is on track to have five times the number of heroin overdoses this year compared to last year.
According to police, if a person overdoses and survives in Miamisburg, they’ll likely face criminal charges. Unless they decide to get help.
“You either seek treatment, or you go to jail,” Miamisburg Police Sgt. Jeff Muncy says that’s the judge’s ultimatum to a person who’s overdosed within city limits.
“Those who seek treatment and start on the Vivitrol, the judge has had a 70% success rate,” Sgt. Muncy said.
Vivitrol is a drug that makes opioid addicts sick when they try using again.
Sgt. Muncy says right now, Miamisburg Municipal Court has 60 people who are ordered to have a prescription.
All of them were charged by police after overdosing.
“If they’re out in public we can charge with public intox. If they’re driving a car we can charge them with OVI. If they have kids in the car, that’s a child endangering charge and then if they’re in possession of the heroin capsules and the needles there’s various possession charges we can charge with,” he said.
Not everyone thinks this is working.
“Citing them, I’m not sure that’s a problem solver,” said Miamisburg resident Woody Ellington.
The numbers prove it isn’t.
Since the first of this year, Miamisburg police have seen a huge spike in overdoses compared to the last two years.
In 2015, 63 people overdosed and 8 died.
Last year, in Ohio’s Star City, there were 87 overdoses and 10 deaths.
“In comparison to 2017, which we’re only two months into, we’ve already had 50 overdoses and 9 of those have been deaths. So we’re on the path right now in 2017 to have 5 times of what we had in 2016,” Sgt. Muncy said, “By charging people for overdosing, the various crimes they commit when they do it, it gives the judge some leverage to push them toward getting help, otherwise people are not seeking the help in a lot of cases and then it’s too late.”
Even though Sgt. Muncy says the ultimatum between jail time or treatment is one way to get help it’s not the only way.