7 powerful consequences of the opioid epidemic that help explain its devastation in Ohio

Published: Friday, October 27, 2017 @ 2:29 PM

What You Need To Know: Opioids

President Donald Trump on Thursday announced that he would roll back regulations to allow state governments looking to access Medicaid funding for drug treatment centers with more than 16 beds.

This news organization has covered all sides of the opioid and overdose spike, from impact on families to effect on public services.

Here are seven of the most powerful consequences of overdoses on southwest Ohio.

Overdoses in all kinds of places

The railroad stretch in Middletown where a Norfolk Southern conductor spotted a woman lying Wednesday on the side of the tracks. NICK GRAHAM/STAFF(Staff Writer)

From the middle of the street to high traffic restaurants, overdoses are happening in some unusual places.

Emergency crews say a Middletown man who overdosed is lucky to be alive after he fell onto nearby railroad tracks.

Dayton police were called to the Arby’s parking lot on Salem Avenue, where a 59-year-old man was overcome by a suspected opioid overdose.Springfield police patrolling on West North Street shortly before midnight allegedly saw Dalton L. Smith, 24, stagger and fall to his knees in the median between West Columbia and West North streets, according to court records. Two children, ages 3 and 5, were standing nearby, police say.

A co-pastor with Sons of Light Ministries said he's glad the man who overdosed on heroin did so in a bathroom at the Dayton church, otherwise help could have come too late.

-- From Another sign of the opioid epidemic: The unusual overdose locations, July 3

Heartbreaking scenes faced by family members

Brian and Courtney Halye pictured on their wedding day, in this photo from Courtney Halye's Facebook page.

The deaths of a Centerville pilot and his wife gained national attention, in part because they were discovered by their four children.

Centerville Police Department released two 9-1-1 calls made by two children in the home where Brian and Courtney Halye were found dead Thursday morning. A 13-year-old boy told the dispatcher, "my two parents, I just woke up, and my parents are on the floor. My sister said they are not waking up." 

-- From Overdoses likely cause of death of Centerville couple, March 16

Drastic measures proposed

After a Journal-News report about Middletown Councilman Dan Picard’s suggestion the city’s public safety services not respond to some overdose calls, officials spent the last several days answering questions from national media outlets, City Manager Doug Adkins (pictured) said. NICK GRAHAM/STAFF 2016(Staff Writer)

Continually frustrated by the overdoses and the cost, some have called for significant changes. Social media reacted strongly when Middletown City Council member Dan Picard asked if it was possible for EMS to not respond to overdose calls.

Noting people with cancer don’t get free chemotherapy from medics nor do people having heart attacks get a free heart bypass in an EMS run, Picard asked if there was a law that requires the city to respond to overdose calls.

-- From Middletown council member: Can we stop responding to overdoses?, June 22

Accidental overdoses on powerful opioids

A sample of fentanyl is seen at the Miami Valley Regional Crime Laboratory. The highly potent synthetic opioid — often cut with heroin or used alone — is believed to be responsible for much of the increase in local overdose deaths.CHRIS STEWART / STAFF(Staff Writer)

Because of how powerful heroin, fentanyl and other drugs are, even incidental contact by those trying to help has led to overdoses.

The incident highlights the chilling danger to police and the public from an extremely powerful opioid that, at its most potent, just a few granules can kill.  

Fentanyl is so rampant in Ohio, it raises concern that people other than law officers are also at risk of accidental contact with deadly drug residue in places like public restrooms where addicts commonly use drugs, in hospitals where users are treated, and in the homes of drug users.

-- From Ohio cop overdoses after drug stop. Are you in danger of accidental fentanyl exposure?, May 15

Courts and morgues are clogged

A Montgomery County task force recovered drugs, cash and a weapon during an operation this week that netted four arrests and 44 pounds of fentanyl. STAFF/MARK GOKAVI(Staff Writer)

The fentanyl epidemic that has clogged the streets, filled the Montgomery County morgue and launched hundreds of police investigations has led to more federal prosecutions as law enforcement attempts to disrupt the flow of drugs into the area by targeting dealers.

Fentanyl has become such a presence on some streets that police caught an alleged dealer when he flagged down a plain clothes officers’ car.  

“You make room for these cases. You just do,” Brent Tabacchi, assistant U.S. attorney, said of the crush of new cases. “That has meant longer hours for a lot of people here in the office. It means a lot of times we’ve been calling our magistrate judges at 10:30 or 11 o’clock at night to get warrants.  

“We’ve always had some element of that, but when a week or two goes by and we’re not in here at night doing something, it almost seems unusual now.”

-- From ‘That’s what’s killing people’ — Fentanyl clogs morgue, and now courts, June 30

First responders are facing the strain

Middletown paramedics and police officers responded to a drug overdose behind the Midd-Town Carry Out on Central Avenue Monday, June 26 in Middletown. Emergency personnel found a man unconscious, lying between two vehicles across the alley. Paramedics first tried to start an IV, the fastest and most effective way to push Narcan into the man’s system, and when that failed, Narcan was administered through the man’s nose. Then a second IV was started. The entire time, paramedics bagged the gentleman until his oxygen level returned to normal. Two doses of Narcan, twice the normal amount, were used to revive the man, who was transported to Atrium. In the matter of a few minutes, all 17 emergency personnel working Monday night in the city were on calls and the dispatcher requested mutual aid from the Monroe Fire Department. One of those calls was an overdose. NICK GRAHAM/STAFF(Nick Graham)

A summer ridealong with Middletown paramedics this summer produced a powerful photo story by this news organization about what emergency crews face in the field.

Emergency personnel found a man unconscious, lying between two vehicles across the alley. Paramedics first tried to start an IV, the fastest and most effective way to push Narcan into the man’s system, and when that failed, Narcan was administered through the man’s nose. Then a second IV was started. The entire time, paramedics bagged the gentleman until his oxygen level returned to normal.

-- From PHOTOS: Follow Middletown paramedics as they respond to an overdose call, June 30

The huge cost: $8.8 billion in Ohio

Opioid addiction, abuse and overdose deaths cost Ohio from $6.6 billion to $8.8 billion, according to a new report from the C. William Swank Program in Rural-Urban Policy at Ohio State University.

The problem is particularly acute in rural areas, where too many have little access to medication-assisted treatment. And the report turns a spotlight to the Dayton area and beyond, saying: “This is a particularly critical issue in the rural areas of Southwest Ohio, where opioid abuse rates are high but local access to treatment is limited.”

-- From Opioids cost Ohio $8.8 billion, Oct. 26

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Piqua boy, 10, arrested for making threats at school

Published: Wednesday, February 21, 2018 @ 11:36 PM

Local authorities taking school threats seriously

UPDATE @ 9:05 p.m: Eaton police confirm they have increased patrol the past couple of days after threats of violence were made against community schools.

Officials were not able to specify at this time which school(s) were threatened or the manner in which the threats were made.

Parents and students were notified of the threats through a phone call.

UPDATE@6:30 p.m. (Feb. 22)

A 10-year-old boy who threatened to bring a gun to school at Piqua Central Intermediate School has been charged, Piqua Police Chief Bruce Jamison said Thursday. 

The boy, who is not being named because he’s a minor, was charged with false alarm, a first degree misdemeanor, Jamison said. 

The boy told students at the bus stop Wednesday that he would bring a gun to school Thursday, prompting officers to take action, the chief said. 

UPDATE @ 3:15 p.m.

The threat at Miamisburg High School was found not to be a credible one, Superintendent David Vail said. “We didn’t feel there was any imminent danger and it was not a viable threat,” he said Thursday afternoon.

RELATED: Arrests and felony charges for threats made in other districts

“Unfortunately, with social media it snowballed and induced a lot of panic.” The district is taking action with a handful of students who were discovered to be part of the threat or who posted information on social media that “may have increased or perpetuated the panic or misconception of what was going on,” he said. 

Vail said it is unclear at this point whether those singled out will be criminally charged or be disciplined under district guidelines only. No students were removed from school property on Thursday, he said. But he noted officials were still in the process of meeting with all of the students thought to be involved. 

The district on Thursday made calls to all parents of high school students informing them that the threat was found not to be credible, Vail said. 

Contending with “social media is certainly sometimes an uphill battle,” he said. “We would like people to confirm things before they spread them.” 

At the same time, Vail said district officials encourage anyone who sees suspicious activity or hears anything that may pose a danger to make sure it is reported.

UPDATE @ 2 p.m.

In Miamisburg, more police officers were at the high school Thursday after a threat that was discovered on a bathroom wall the day before, according to Miamisburg Police Department Sgt. Will Ring.

The unspecified number of officers at the school were in addition to the district’s school resource officer. Ring indicated that no arrests have been made and the investigation is continuing.


Piqua, Miamisburg, and Springfield police investigated threats made by students. 

The latest threat came Thursday morning with a post on social media threatening a shooting at Springfield-Clark Career Technology Center.

Springfield police are aware of the threat and have increased patrol at the school. Officials have also spoken with the school’s Superintendent about the threat of violence.

MORE: Can students get in trouble for participating in #NeverAgain walkouts?

No word on if parents or students were informed of the threat, as a Springfield CTC representative could not be reached for comment. 

Miamisburg police Sgt. Joshua Himan said a threat of violence was found written on a bathroom wall at Miamisburg High School on Wednesday.

No one has been arrested yet, and Miamisburg police and schools are investigating. 

There will be extra patrols at the school Thursday, Himan said.

RELATED: Springfield, other districts investigate vague school shooting threat

The threat referenced "tomorrow" but it's unknown how long it was on bathroom wall.

In Piqua, Police Chief Bruce Jamison confirmed his office is investigating a threat that involved a student whom attends Piqua Central Intermediate School

Jamison though would not reveal any specifics about the threat, including whether it was against a school or individual or referenced any weapons. 

Posters removed from Belmont H.S. depicting bodies of rival teams

Piqua police were made aware of this threat Wednesday afternoon and "eliminated the threat,” Jamison said, by ensuring it could not be carried out. He declined to elaborate.

Jamison said there have been increased police patrols at Piqua schools since the school shooting in Florida last week. 

"Ever since last Thursday it's just been a steady stream of threats of different levels, different types, we do threat assessment on every one of them," Jamison said. "I would really encourage people not to repeat things online; they usually don't have the facts. We're seeing increased reporting. People are hyper-sensitive whenever they hear things." 

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Hero German shepherd takes bullet for teenager in home invasion

Published: Thursday, February 22, 2018 @ 8:50 PM


When burglars violently broke into a Des Moines, Washington, home mid-afternoon on Wednesday, a teenager hid in a closet and held onto his dog.

>> Read more trending news

But Rex -- a 2-year-old German shepherd -- ran downstairs to protect the 16-year-old.

The dog confronted the burglars, who beat him until he was bloody. The dog ran back upstairs.

>> Related: Argument over dog’s weight turns deadly at Missouri sports bar

With the dog out of sight, the home invasion continued as the two burglars trashed the house room by room. When they came into the bedroom where the teen and the dog were hiding in the closet, and the teen was on the phone with 911, the dog stood up to them with the little strength he had left.

>> Related: Police: Des Moines teen calls 911 from closet during home invasion

He threw himself at the burglars, the teen's family wrote on a GoFundMe page, and was shot at least three times in the neck, leg and knee.

As the sound of sirens became audible, the burglars ran away.

Officers found smashed sliding door glass when they went into the home to get the teen outside safely. They also found Rex, who at first looked dead.

While SWAT teams looked for the suspects, Rex was taken to the animal hospital. 

>> Related: Shepherd, lab mix found tied to tree with note attached to collar gets adopted

He was eventually taken to BluePearl, where he is in the veterinary intensive care unit, receiving pain medication, antibiotics and wound care, with round-the-clock monitoring of his vital signs.
After making it through the night, the dog is now in stable condition.

As Rex recovers, people on social media have taken to calling him a "hero dog" for intervening between the burglars and the teenager.

"My nephew was protected by his eternal friend until the last bit of strength he had in him to do what his unconditional, loving instinct told him to," family member Susy Cadena said on the GoFundMe page.

The family started crowdfunding after paying large sums of money for X-rays and urgently needed medication for Rex. They hope to raise $10,000 to cover the expenses.

"Our family cannot let Rex the hero dog go without us fighting as hard as he did, to his very last bit of a strength while protecting my nephew," Cadena said.

Meanwhile, officers are still looking for the suspects, and they are trying to figure out why the house was targeted.

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Thief creates spectacle, robbing bank in dress, purple scarf and hat

Published: Thursday, February 22, 2018 @ 5:20 PM

Thief Robs Bank Wearing Purple Scarf And Hat, Creates Spectacle

Pittsburgh police are searching for a thief who held up a bank wearing a woman’s dress, a purple scarf and hat and sunglasses.

>> Read more trending news 

Pittsburgh Police released these photos of a suspected bank robber wearing a dress and a purple hat and scarf  during a heist Thursday morning.(Pittsburgh Police Department)

Police say the thief robbed a local bank Thursday morning around 10:30 and made off with an undisclosed amount of cash.

>> Related: Sheriff on little girl’s murder: ‘This case has weighed on us’

Authorities are asking for the public’s help in finding the suspected thief.

They’re asking anyone with information to call the FBI.

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Arrest made in attempted robbery at Table 33 restaurant in downtown Dayton

Published: Thursday, February 22, 2018 @ 5:24 PM

Dayton police arrested a man who attempted to rob a bartender at Table 33 Restaurant in downtown Dayton. STAFF PHOTO/Jarod Thrush
Dayton police arrested a man who attempted to rob a bartender at Table 33 Restaurant in downtown Dayton. STAFF PHOTO/Jarod Thrush

Dayton police arrested an 18-year-old man after a failed robbery attempt at Table 33 restaurant in downtown Dayton.

LOCAL: Family member arrested for alleged arson in Dayton house fire

According to a Dayton Police report, just after 5 p.m. Thursday, a man in camo pants and a red shirt grabbed a female bartender by the arm and ordered her twice to open the cash register.

The woman refused both demands and the man ran away.

A Dayton officer spotted the suspect a short time later on Salem Ave.

The officer gave chase and arrested the man a mile and a half away from the restaurant near the 700-block of Salem Ave.  He was arrested and taken to the Montgomery County jail.

No weapon was used in the robbery attempt and no one was hurt.

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