On the Beat: 12/26

The difficult problem

The worst in Dayton is Heroin

By Jim Bucher

This is an easy one.
The worst for 2017 here in the Miami Valley. Easy, yet a very difficult problem.

The Heroin epidemic. It is out of control if you hadn’t noticed. We made the national news broadcasts way too many times this year, the kind of publicity we do not need or deserve.

I think the biggest impact was the NBC reporter talking to our coroner in the ‘freezer.’ It’s the place where bodies are on ice. The majority of which were related to heroin overdoses. If that doesn’t hit home, not sure what will.

I’m betting you have or know someone impacted by heroin and its toll. Whether a friend, family member, neighbor or acquaintance, it crosses all sectors of the population.

Doctors, lawyers, and everyone in between. The statistics are mind boggling.

Who do we blame? The drug companies, doctors? It seems to begin with prescription pain meds in most cases. A broken ankle, arm, finger etc. Your health care provider immediately in most cases prescribe pain meds. Then when you need more and more, building up a tolerance, your doctor cuts you off.

The highly addictive drug kicks in and you crave more. When they say no, you say yes to any and everything available. Turning a lot of times to the quick and cheap fix of heroin.

It seems to be readily available. Now add the fatal mix of fentanyl it’s the prescription for death. Unlike prescription meds which are highly regulated, no one knows for sure what street drugs are laced with.

Good friends of mine lost their son to the highly toxic mix of heroin and fentanyl. Three years ago, he along with three others received the deadly mix from apparently the same dealer resulting in all dying.

It was a real shock because he had been clean for years, but takes one relapse and that was it. Breaks my heart because he was the father of a toddler and one on the way.

There are thousands of stories just like his. Everyone a real a huge gut punch. It seems like it’s a problem with no quick fix,

And it touches everyone.

A few years ago, emceeing an event on courthouse square, a Dayton Police officer friend on the downtown beat asked me, ‘Buch, pick out the heroin addict.’ At first I thought he was joking. But it was far from funny.

Everyone looked like they punched a time clock. Businessman, administrative assistants and the like.

He pointed at the guy with the briefcase, a couple of well dressed women and on and on. He said, that’s them. He experienced them using on their lunchbreak in alley ways,

The misnomer it’s a poor mans problem was a real eye opener.

My friend Captain Mike Brem with the Montgomery County Sheriff’s office RANGE task force and a helluv’ a good guy who goes above and beyond the call with battling the opioid scourg through education and informative presentations provided me with some startling statistics.

Mike says, “As overdoses become a leading cause of death, police, sheriffs and health agencies must step up their response.”

Check this out, a real slap in the face.

In 1991 there were around 24,000 homicides. 44,193 suicides in 2015, 50,628 deaths from HIV/AIDS in 1995, 54,589 car accident deaths in 1972. And 64,070 drug overdoes deaths in 2016. The last reporting period.

If that isn’t a wake up call I don’t know what is.

So what can we do. There are plenty of agencies and groups available for help, Just check your county health department website.

You can lobby your government officials to do more.

It is a war … a war that heroin is winning.

Captain Brem is on a mission and would be happy to share his expertise on this awful problem. He along with many deputies and care givers are here to help They are being very proactive.

Mike suggestion is to call the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office non-emergency
number 937.225.4357.

Or visit mcohiosheriff.org and Mcdrugfree.org. Also, Mike can speak to your organization or group. He is at the ready. I’ve personally attended and it is VERY informative.

Let’s all do our part to eradicate this huge problem. It will take all of us to pitch in.

Then maybe next year when the worst of 2018 is written about, it will truly be off the list.

Don’t give up, there is hope,

Cheers and Happy new year.

Be safe.

Buch

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For over 25 years, Jim Bucher has been a regionally known and loved local television icon. “Buch’s” followers describe him as trustworthy, fun, the guy next door, a friend and role model. You can promote your business with Buch and grab your customer’s attention! Reach DCP freelance writer Jim Bucher at JimBucher@DaytonCityPaper.com.

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