Tuesday, December 19, 2017

On the Daily

What kind of news do you need to know daily? Weather? Traffic? In the Summer, do you check air quality reports? Road construction? I’ve noticed a new daily report in Howard County. This one was tacked on to the end of the police blotter, but ordinarily, they are publishing these as stand-alone posts on Facebook.

Almost every day.

Opioid overdose
Since the Friday, Dec. 15 daily crime bulletin, police responded to four non-fatal overdoses. In three of the overdoses, Narcan was administered and the person was transported to the hospital.

2017 YTD Total Overdoses:
Fatal: 55*
Non-Fatal: 166

*In fatal cases, some deaths are pending autopsy results for opioids and/or other substances. Numbers may fluctuate.

Of the 166 non-fatal opioid overdoses, life-saving Narcan was administered in 148 incidents.

If you or someone you know in Howard County needs help with an opioid issue, call 800-422-0009, 24-hours a day. #HoCoHelp

Have you noticed? Has it sunk in? Have you thought, “what on earth is going on that we now have daily overdose reports?” Or, perhaps, “What do we, as a county, need to do to stop this horrifying trend?”

If we don’t know anyone who is struggling with addiction, we may find it easy to scroll through those reports from hcpdnews. Perhaps that’s why the police department is making such a concerted effort to keep on posting them. This is a serious problem.  In one way or another, it effects all of us as a community, and we ignore it at our peril.

Now, there are some very real arguments to be made as to why the importance of addiction as a public health issue didn’t get serious attention until it extended to white people in large numbers. That’s absolutely a conversation that needs to happen. When addiction could be portrayed as a ‘minority’ problem, then it was painted as a criminal activity to be addressed with Law and Order tactics. Now that it could be a family member, friend, or co-worker of those in the dominant white culture, we are seeing a reframing of the issue with talk of public health and compassion.

Long overdue, in my opinion.

We should all be horrified that Howard County is consistently experiencing enough overdoses to warrant an almost-daily report. This is not something we should get used to as a ‘new normal’.

Looking for support, information, or advice? Here’s a good place to start: Addiction Support in Howard County.

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