Demonstrators protest against sheriff's anti-Narcan policy

HAMILTON, OH (FOX19) - Demonstrators gathered to protest Butler County Sheriff Richard K. Jones' Narcan policy on Saturday.

Indivisible OH 8 and Our Revolution Butler County held the rally outside the Hamilton Municipal Courthouse.

They are demanding the sheriff's office train and equip deputies with Narcan.

Protestors also called for a low-cost solution to the opioid epidemic through decriminalization, rehabilitation and community education.

The protest comes in response to Jones announcing he refuses to equip deputies with Narcan to revive overdose victims.

He is the only southwestern Ohio sheriff whose department does not."It just again is illustrative of his mean-spirited demeanor," said Susan Eacker, a demonstrator out opposing Sheriff Jones' position.

While Eacker and other Anti-Jones demonstrators made their voices heard outside of the courthouse, Jones supporters gathered on the opposite street corner.

Those out in support of the sheriff parked a large semi-truck on the corner of High Street and Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd with signs that read "Police are not doctors."

"They got a tough job and they're not doctors. We don't have time for that, we don't have the money for it," said Jesse Vonstein, who says he knows Jones personally. "These guys need to figure out their problems, some kind of program and fix it but it's not the sheriff department's job."

Jones said only emergency medical technicians on ambulances carry and use Narcan in Butler County.

Jones himself made an appearance to thank those out supporting his viewpoints on Narcan's role within the sheriff's department. He said he was pleased that this has sparked a conversation.

"That's our constitution where you can say what you think and disagree and then we go to the polls and we vote and it's got people discussing things and talking about things," Jones said.

The conversation among those opposed to Jones were questions about the sheriff's level of compassion and what could be done about the Narcan controversy.

"Police officers carry defibrillators for a reason and that's because some people they chose to eat unhealthy foods and then they get heart attacks, but we're not going to let those people die, just like we should not let heroin addicts die," the Indivisible OH 8's Noah Daughhetee said.

Last month, a Middletown city councilman sparked controversy by suggesting that EMS crews should just let addicts die instead of repeatedly reviving them using Narcan.

That prompted the city manager to issue a statement affirming that police would not stop using Narcan on repeat overdose victims.

The protest was initially set for Tuesday was rescheduled due to thunderstorms.

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