In the city of Middletown, Ohio, the once proud home of the Mighty Middletown Middies, the Paul Sorg paper company, AK Steel, and NFL star Cris Carter, what remains is a disaster of a city that's been plagued by drug addiction and the loss of industry.
Thirty years ago the city was a popular hotspot in the region with high paying jobs and a booming manufacturing industry. A steel town that took care of it's own people. A promising place to raise a family with new homes sprouting up as fast as they could be built.
In 2017 however it's a ghost town that looks similar to Detroit. Boarded up homes fill the streets. Graffiti and gang violence continue to spread across the one proud town. The infrastructure has decayed to the point of no return.
The city is bankrupt, with more citizens on section 8 housing and welfare than there are even paying local taxes. The high paying jobs are for the most part gone, as the manufacturing industry has outsourced across the globe and the factories have closed.
However since shortly after the war in Afghanistan the city has faced an even larger problem, heroin.
The Heroin epidemic has hit Middletown harder than most anywhere in the country. There are thousands of overdoses annually with several addicts dying per week. The crime is beyond imaginable as drug addicts will steal , rob, cheat; and do whatever is necessary to get their next fix.
The city can no longer afford to take care of their own. The fire and police departments are struggling along with emergency medical responders to even manage the addictions and crime and overdoses. The city jail stays full of addicts and drug dealers.
Narcan, the expensive medication that can counter an overdose is carried by every law enforcement agent and first responder in the city due to the high number of overdoses. The city simply cannot continue to afford to curb the crime and drug overdoses.
The intense anguish over the amount of money and public safety services being devoted to drug overdoses led to one Middletown, Ohio, city council member asking if it was possible for the city to not respond to such calls.
He said, “the city needs to think outside the box”. Middletown City Council member Dan Picard called for EMS to not respond to overdose calls.
He used the equation that people who have cancer don’t get free chemotherapy, nor do people having heart attacks get a free heart bypass in an EMS run, Picard asked if there was a law that requires the city to respond to overdose calls.
The city is on pace to spend $100,000 for Narcan when it was budgeted $10,000 for the entire year, according to City Manager Doug Adkins. This is how bad the Heroin Epidemic is in the city of Middletown and all across the region now.
Is there a solution to this problem? It certainly doesn't seem like there's one in site. The entire Midwest and Ohio especially is suffering financially and emotionally as more people are killed via Heroin overdoses than by gun violence.