Lucas County officials say charging overdose victims may have adverse effects

Lucas County officials say charging overdose victims may have adverse effects

LUCAS COUNTY, OH (WTOL) - In a letter to the small city of Washington Courthouse, the ALCU advised that they immediately stop the practice of charging those who overdose with a first degree misdemeanor.

The interest group says the practice is not only unlawful but counterproductive.

The town of about 14,000 people southwest of Columbus began citing overdose victims in February.

At the time, the city was experiencing a large number of suspected overdose cases. So the city began charging victims with inducing panic if they had to be revived using Naloxone.

Inducing panic is punishable by up to 180 days in jail and a $1,000 fine.

According to Washington Courthouse officials, it is an effort to better keep track of the overdoses.

But Toledo law enforcement says it may create more problems.

"These people are not going to be able to pay their court costs and fines, they're literally destitute at this point," said Lt. Bobby Chromik of Lucas County's DART Program. "They've sold off everything for this drug. How are we going to pay back the court? The court's going to now go in debt, now we're wasting resources there."

The ACLU argues in these cases it's a misuse of the law. They also say charging overdose victims will make addicts less likely to seek out treatment.

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