Former addicts head to Butler County to debate Narcan use

NORTON, OH (WOIO) - More than 300 people from northeast Ohio will be traveling to Butler County on Tuesday to demonstrate the Butler County Sheriff's controversial decision that forbids deputies to carry Narcan.

Butler County Sheriff Richard Jones believes Narcan is not safe, and could endanger the county's deputies. "You're usually at a place that's not real happy that you're there. They're usually trying to hide their drugs before you get there, they have needles."

Deputies in Butler County do not carry Narcan, which is why protests are heading to Butler County on Tuesday afternoon.

The Norton police chief disagrees with Sheriff Jones. Chief Dalessandro said, "I couldn't look a grandmother, a mother, a father, a brother and tell them that we had a tool to save their family members life and we didn't want to use it."

Norton cops have been armed with Narcan for two years. In 2017, officers have used it 35 times during calls.

Nick Bianco, a former heroin addict, says Narcan saved his life. "I've been narcanned 3 times."

Nick has been clean for more than four years, and is now a father and runs five sober living homes in the Akron area. He is aware of the reputation surrounding Narcan, but he is a strong supporter of the opiate antidote. "You're a lost cause, it never works. I would stand here and say that's totally false, none of us would have a chance to get sober, get our lives together, if Narcan wasn't available."

The protests will be held outside of the Butler County Sheriff's Department at 1:30 p.m. Tuesday. A separate event on Saturday sponsored by the Norton police and fire departments is meant to promote safety and awareness when dealing with opiate overdoses.

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