HAMILTON, Ohio -- Sheriff Richard Jones put Butler County in national headlines when he said his deputies would not use Narcan earlier this month.
About two dozen people protested Jones’ position Saturday outside the Hamilton Municipal Court building. A group called “Truckers for Jones” showed support for the sheriff’s opposition to Narcan.
Jones said he and his deputies do not administer Narcan to people who have overdosed because they do not give shots or medicine for other ailments. He told 700WLW dispensing medicine should be left to paramedics.
"It's very dangerous," Jones said. "We're not winning this battle, and Narcan is not the answer."
Noah Daughhetee helped spearhead Saturday's demonstration because he said he supports the idea of helping people in the community.
“Sheriff Jones is wrong. Heroin addiction, opiate addiction is not a moral failing. These people are sick, and this is a disease that needs to be treated with healthcare and public resources,” Daughhetee said.
Daughhetee disagrees with Jones’ claim that giving Narcan should be designated for EMT’s.
“It’s not the primary responsibility of police departments to revive people, to be an EMT. But right now resources are slim, and they’re in a unique position to help, so I think they should,” he said.
But Larry Jaycox argues a police officer’s safety is compromised when they have to focus on administering the drug.
Jaycox’s son is a police officer, and while he agrees people need Narcan, he doesn’t like the idea of police officers carrying it.
“When you take an officer off of vertical and put them down on the ground it puts them in a disadvantage … if you have an officer down on a knee, or two knees getting someone Narcan you put that officer in jeopardy,” Jaycox said.
Butler County Sheriff deputies aren’t the only law enforcement agencies that don’t carry the drug; Rodney Muterspaw, Middletown Police Chief, said in an op-ed Jones’ comments about Narcan was “not a shock to most city agencies, because we don't carry it either.”
READ Muterspaw’s full op-ed here
Christopher Skinner was among those protesting Jones’ stance Saturday. Skinner, who founded Rockstart Recovery, said a lot of issues surrounding Narcan involve stigmatizing those who have an addiction.
“I was one of those ‘junkies,’” he said. “I was one of those ‘heroin addicts.’”
Skinner said he believes police officers should carry Narcan because it could help prevent fatal overdoses.
“What it boils down to is that you take an oath to serve and protect the community and the citizens of the community, and that doesn’t discriminate which citizens,” Skinner said.
Through it all, Jones stood by his statement.
“Narcan is not the answer, and I’m not apologizing for anything I say ... I’m not apologizing on my stance," Jones said.
Daughhetee said another rally is scheduled for later this week in Middletown, and he plans to hold other demonstrations on the issue around Butler County.
Click here for resources and WCPO's complete coverage of the region's heroin epidemic.