The FOX 8 I TEAM has uncovered a glimpse of a hidden cost to taxpayers because of the soaring number of people overdosing on heroin. That growing cost can be totaled in how much the city is spending on the life-saving drug that reverses the effects of heroin.
The I TEAM filed a records request at Cleveland City Hall. The city has ordered the drug Narcan seven times in ten months. And the cost to you? We found price tags for these orders at more than $25,000, nearly $50,000 and more than $100,000 dollars among others.
At least one Ohio lawmaker has suggested limiting life-saving efforts on addicts who OD again and again. But there’s no talk like that in Cleveland.
Nicole Carlton, Cleveland EMS Commissioner, said, "As medical providers, we take care of patients. And every life matters.” She added, "Drug addiction is a medical condition, and if people aren't aware of that they need to start looking at it like drug addiction is a medical condition and not just an issue people choose to have."
Taxpayers we met on the street agree that city leaders should spend what it takes to save lives. But some also called for more treatment.
Of course, the heroin problem is a nationwide concern. And the cost of the fallout from it includes much more than the cost of the life-saving drug.
Nonetheless, it gives us a snapshot of the impact. In fact, the cost of the drug used to treat overdoses can be more expensive than many other drugs regularly used to handle other medical emergencies.