South Euclid police find addicts carrying heroin antidote during arrest

Posted at 10:21 PM, Jan 16, 2017
and last updated 2017-01-17 07:30:02-05

Signs an epidemic is worsening here in Northeast Ohio: local police departments are now finding more than Heroin when they arrest addicts.

The arrests are becoming more and more common for heroin including possession, use, sale, but the most recent, here in South Euclid, stood out. 

Police arrested two young men, and they had heroin, tourniquets, a spoon and a kit, containing heroin's antidote - Naloxone complete with a carrying case from Project DAWN. That's the wellness program aimed to help combat the heroin epidemic.

One of the men was wearing a Hope over Heroin sweatshirt while using the drug.

Chief Kevin Nietert with the South Euclid Police Department said, "This is it. Proof police can't arrest their way out of this drug problem."

Because it's all part of a larger problem. "There's no apprehension or fear because you have the antidote," Nietert said.

Police and fire officials in Ohio have been carrying Narcan for more than a year now- it's a lifesaver. 

But Nietert says it's not the answer, especially now that addicts are carrying it with them, rather than following through with treatment.

"The question then becomes what do we do from a law enforcement perspective? We've arrested these two guys, they're sitting here in jail, they are going to have to post a bond to be released, but is it really resolving the problem if they just turn around, get out, and go back to using?"

While there are diversion programs to help those arrested for drugs get into treatment, rather than prison, in this case, these men have criminal records so it probably won't apply. 

Nietert added, at this point, the best solution to this problem is education and increased treatment and rehab options.