The heroin epidemic in Ohio has become a major problem that hits our own communities. Thirty-eight states, including Ohio, have an overdose immunity law that provides a “free pass” to heroin users that are saved with Narcan after an overdose. What this means is that anyone that overdoses on heroin and are saved by an emergency dose of Narcan, at no cost to the heroin user, are allowed, once recovered, to go without out being charged with possession, drug paraphernalia or any other related offense or any mandatory rehab. I believe that this creates just a revolving door that doesn’t solve this major issue that we are facing. This system, if anything, will make the heroin user feel more invincible since they were able to cheat death and get the high that they are after, enabling them to do it again and again. I don’t feel that these people need to be placed in jail, because they do have a serious problem that they can’t control. I’m not sure what the right answer is for the heroin users, maybe some sort of mandatory rehab. I believe that our legislatures need to collaborate with each other, as well as medical professionals, and work on this issue. However, what really would make an impact on the heroin epidemic would be a crackdown on those that transport and sell heroin in our communities. What we need are very steep punishments for transporting and selling it, to the point that it would not be worth it to anyone involved. I believe then, we might see a decrease in heroin overdoses and heroin deaths. We need to encourage our elected officials to make this more of a priority so we can fix this major problem.
Eric Harris, YSU Student Nurse