For the Troy Daily News
TROY — Relatively speaking, the month of May 2017 in Miami County was a better one in terms of fewer drug overdoses that were treated in emergency departments. There were 57 cases reported by the Miami County Public Health department, and that figure represented an improvement in the number of overdoses since January 2017 when there were more than 100 cases. These details were shared with Troy Rotarians at their weekly meeting on June 6 by local attorney Steve Justice. Justice is the founder of the faith-based Miami County Heroin Coalition.
The coalition is a combined effort between the county and city officials to address the opiate addiction problem from multiple perspectives: treatment, faith-based counseling, rehabilitation support and law enforcement. It includes Troy’s quick response team of fire, police and social service agencies to help educate, motivate and coordinate activities. Statistics indicate that recovery success is greater when addicts participate in a rehabitiliation program that has a faith-based support system in place. The May report showed the majority of the 57 overdoses involved people aged 25-49 across all economic and ethnic groups, divided almost evenly between men and women. Justice stated that a case is considered an “overdose” if the person stops breathing and needs intervention.
The opiate problem in Miami County and the region is epidemic, in part because heroin is laced with more addictive, and deadly, drugs fentanyl and carfentanil. The latter is used as a general anesthesic for large aniamls such as elephants and rhinoceroses. Experts agree that law enforcement cannot solve the problem through arrest and incarceration. Up to 85 percent of all crime in Miami County is drug-related; however, the largest rehab centers are in the jails. These facilities are the least equipped to support and prevent recividism. Troy now has Hope House, a first-ever detoxification center in Miami County for rehabilitation from addiction. The facility offers on-staff nursing and on-call doctor support, all funded by state ADAMSE funds. In addition, Miami County Public Health recently launched Project Dawn in which residents are trained to administer Narcan to addicted friends or family who overdose. To learn more, or to make a donation to defray expenses, visit www.mcrcinc.org.
Troy Rotarians and the Troy Rotary Foundation support several community projects annually. To learn more about Rotary and membership, visit www.troyohiorotary.org.