CINCINNATI — Butler County Sheriff Richard K. Jones says his deputies won't carry Narcan, despite its effectiveness reversing the effects opioid and heroin overdoses.
He's the only sheriff in Southwest Ohio whose department doesn't use it.
Jones said residents, even social workers, frequently ask him why law enforcement continue to revive people who overdose multiple times.
The sheriff said his deputies don't.
"I don't do Narcan," Jones said.
Jones said his deputies "never carried" the opioid overdose reversal drug. "Nor will they," he said. "That's my stance."
The sheriff said safety is his concern. When people who overdose are revived, they are often violent and are almost never happy to see the police.
Still, sheriff's deputies in surrounding Warren, Clermont and Hamilton counties carry Narcan.
More than half of Butler County’s 25 municipalities had at least one heroin/fentanyl overdose-related death in 2016, the Journal-News reported. The Butler County Coroner's Office handled 192 overdose deaths last year, and of those, 80% were heroin/fentanyl-related, the paper reported.
The Narcan issue attracted nationwide interest after a Middletown city councilmember proposed a three-strikes penalty so EMS would not respond to an overdose victim who has required two previous interventions.
Middletown City Council member Dan Picard told the local Journal-News that arresting those who overdose on heroin or other drugs adds to the problem by straining the city budget, jail and court system.
“John Smith obviously doesn’t care much about his life, but he’s expending a lot of resources and we can’t afford it,” Picard said.
Contributing: John Bacon, USA TODAY. Follow Keith BieryGolick on Twitter: @KBieryGolick