Middletown Leaders Still Not Sure If Withholding Overdose Antidote Is Legal

Jul 6, 2017

City leaders in Middletown on Wednesday night said attorneys are still weighing whether they can legally decide not to revive people who repeatedly overdose.

Last week, the city of Middletown, Ohio, made national headlines after a local council member put forward a controversial "three strikes" idea: If someone overdoses on opioids more than two times, the third time the paramedics may not arrive to save them.

Dan Picard devised the idea after a string of recent overdoses, saying it would save the city money on EMS services and ovoid a financial crisis.

Picard suggested that when someone overdoses, they repay the city by performing community service. If they overdoes three times, but have not completed their community service, paramedics would not be dispatched to save them. 

In Wednesday’s meeting, the Middletown city manager said city attorneys are still researching whether there is a legal obligation to dispatch emergency services.

Picard’s idea will not be voted until a decision is made, and only if it’s determined to be legal.

On Thursday the ACLU of Ohio made a statement condemning Picard's proposal. Gary Daniels from the ACLU of Ohio, doesn't deny the opioid epidemic has put a financial strain on many communities, but he says limiting emergency services for the sake of saving money is  an irresponsible and dangerous idea.

"It's wrong in Middletown, It's wrong anywhere in Ohio," says Daniels. "Unfortunately, what we see happen is bad ideas have a way of spreading."