Criminal Justice

Amidst an Opioid Epidemic, One Sheriff Refuses to Carry Lifesaving Drug Narcan

Southwest Ohio, like much of the Midwest, has been hard-hit by the opioid epidemic. One of the few positive developments in this ongoing plague, has been the development and distribution of nalaxone, better known by its trade name Narcan. This simple nasal spray is designed to be administered by untrained laymen, and has the effect of reversing overdoses by blocking opioid receptors. It’s a miracle drug that saves lives, and has become standard-issue for law enforcement and other first responders across the country.

There’s one place where officers won’t be carrying, it though: Butler County, Ohio.

Sheriff Richard Jones insists he will not allow his deputes to carry or administer the life-saving substance. Ostensibly, his concern is officer safety is the reason, but law enforcement professionals including the head of the area’s police union dispute that as a myth. Instead, Jones seems driven by a craven contempt for addicts that would rather see them die.

“All we’re doing is reviving them, we’re not curing them,” Butler County Sheriff Richard Jones told NBC News. “There’s no law that says police officers have to carry Narcan. Until there is, we’re not going to use it.”

One municipal police chief in a neighboring county isn’t buying Jones’s argument. “Here we are in the United States of America and we are having a debate about who should live and who should die,” said Newtown Police Chief Tom Synan. “Our number one priority is to be saving lives – no matter what. Ask any cop, most of the time you are responding to a call it is because someone made a poor choice.”

(Screenshot of video “N is for Naxalone” by Oakland North used with permission.)

Andy Craig

A writer and political consultant in Milwaukee, WI, Andy Craig is active in several roles within the Libertarian Party, including two campaigns for public office, re-establishing official party status in Wisconsin, and receiving over 11% of the vote for Congress. He works with candidates on recruitment, strategy, messaging, ballot access, and endorsements, overseeing the latter for the Johnson/Weld campaign.

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