BUCYRUS — On Wednesday, there were two suspected overdoses in Bucyrus.
“I say suspected because one of them, we are not sure about. Narcan was used on the other person,” said Bucyrus Police Chief Dave Koepke on Thursday. “There were no fatalities this time.”
Narcan (naloxone) is an opiate antidote.
Koepke said the upcoming rally at Bucyrus City Hall, 500 S. Sandusky Ave., next week could not have a better title.
“Fed up, because we really are,” Koepke said. “State officials came out a few years ago and said there is a heroin problem in Ohio. We’re wondering where they had been for 10 years.”
The Fed Up Rally will kick off at 6 p.m. on Aug. 31 in conjunction with International Overdose Awareness Day. Advocates are rallying for a federal response to the prescription opioid and heroin crisis.
Speakers will include Stephen White from Ohio Sen. Robert Portman’s office, Crystal Oertle from “Erase the Shame, Michael Pack of Serenity Street, the Warrior Project and more.
The rally will be one of dozens scheduled simultaneously in cities and towns across the nation. They are being organized by the Fed Up Coalition which represents thousands of families and individuals affected by the epidemic of opioid addiction and overdose deaths.
“Our first rally was last year, and I had roughly two to three weeks to plan,” said Sarah Carman, one of the organizers for the event and Secretary/Coordinator for Ohio CAN Change Addiction Now. “This year, I’ve had a couple months and hope the rally brings more education and awareness to our city, and helps to erase the stigma and shame surrounding addiction.”
Carman said the Bucyrus rally will include advocates demonstrating their frustration with Congress for failing to include an Executive Branch proposal for $1 billion in new funding in the recently passed Comprehensive Addiction and Treatment Act (CARA). They believe CARA will have little impact unless Congress appropriates adequate funding for addiction treatment.
“If members of Congress really care about controlling the opioid crisis, and I believe they do, it’s time for them to put their money where their mouth is,” Carman said.
She believes the $1 billion in new funding sought by the Obama administration is a bare minimum of what is needed to help states expand access to treatment.
In recent years, rates of opioid addiction have skyrocketed.
“(It) has led to record high rates of overdose deaths, a flood of heroin into neighborhoods where it was previously unavailable and other health and social problems,” Carman said.
According to the CDC, the country is experiencing the worst drug addiction epidemic in history. In addition to seeking funding, Fed Up supporters are calling for tighter controls on pharmaceutical marketing of opioids and more cautious prescribing by doctors and dentists.
Some International Overdose Awareness Day rally participants will go to Washington D.C. on Sept. 18 to participate in the fourth annual Fed Up Rally. They will be joined by thousands. The event will include speeches on the National Mall followed by a march to Capitol Hill.
“We cannot arrest and jail our way out of this problem. By doing so, we tie the system up for those who are ready, willing and need the treatment,” Carman said.
For more information, call Sarah Carman at 240-565-4519 or Jessica Sullivan at 419-689-0764.