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Published: Friday, October 27, 2017 @ 2:29 PM
— 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
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.
Heartbreaking scenes faced by family members
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
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
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.
Courts and morgues are clogged
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.”
First responders are facing the strain
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 mans system, and when that failed, Narcan was administered through the mans nose. Then a second IV was started. The entire time, paramedics bagged the gentleman until his oxygen level returned to normal.
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
Published: Wednesday, February 21, 2018 @ 11:36 PM
REGION — 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.
“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.
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.
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.
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.
Published: Thursday, February 22, 2018 @ 8:50 PM
DES MOINES, Wash. — 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Published: Thursday, February 22, 2018 @ 5:20 PM
PITTSBURGH, Penn. — Pittsburgh police are searching for a thief who held up a bank wearing a woman’s dress, a purple scarf and hat and sunglasses.
Police say the thief robbed a local bank Thursday morning around 10:30 and made off with an undisclosed amount of cash.
Authorities are asking for the public’s help in finding the suspected thief.
They’re asking anyone with information to call the FBI.
Published: Thursday, February 22, 2018 @ 5:24 PM
DAYTON — Dayton police arrested an 18-year-old man after a failed robbery attempt at Table 33 restaurant in downtown Dayton.
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.