TIPP CITY, Ohio (WDTN) – For the third time this month, 2 NEWS attended a community discussion on the opioid epidemic.
First in Centerville, then in Waynesville and now Tipp City.
According to Tipp Cty police, the goal was to make sure the community knows Tipp City is not immune.
“We need to get out and tell the community that this is actually happening,” said Tipp City Police Chief, Eric Burris.
Chief Eric Burris was there as city officials and health experts took questions from residents Tuesday night about the opioid epidemic and how it’s impacting Tipp.
More than 100 people packed the government building.
Jim Hardy was there supporting the idea of community education on the topic of addiction. Something that Hardy used to believe was a waste of time.
“It seemed useless. You can you give them Narcan and the next day they’re back at it,” said Hardy.
The latest statewide data, shows Narcan was used nearly 20,000 times by emergency professionals in Ohio in 2015.
The medication is now available statewide without a prescription.
Hardy says people on the forum changed his mind and heart on the battle people struggling with addiction face.
“The other thing she said that woke me up, is that they’re not necessarily taking opium all this for a high. But when they are coming down it’s like the worst flu you ever had times 10,” said Hardy.
For law enforcement, the chief says Interstate-75 is bringing much of the problem to town.
“Most of our arrests are people passing through town. We have had overdoses here in town but the majority of those have been people from outside of tip city not tip city residents,” said Chief Burris.
Hardy says it’s not one person’s problem or the police department’s problem; it’s an epidemic the community as a whole must tackle together because it impacts so many lives.
“They will do anything. Rob, kill, spend their life savings, take food from their kids, do it in front of their kids and this is why they’re doing it.”
All police officers in Tipp City carry Narcan.
Police say that emergency personnel responded to 89 overdoses last year and they expect that number to be much higher this year.