The HIV and drug problem affecting the southeastern portion of Indiana seems to be moving north and west, but it doesn’t yet appear to have reached Bartholomew County.
Last week, we reported that the North Vernon Police Department has seen a marked increase in the number of discarded hypodermic needles throughout that city http://bit.ly/1E0ptQG. In that piece, Police Chief James Webster noted that the needles were not concentrated in any particular area(s).
We have reached out to the Bartholomew County Sheriff’s Department (BCSD) and the Columbus Police Department (CPD) to find out if they have noticed anything similar. BCSD Captain Dave Steinkoenig says that his department has not seen an increase in calls about found needles. CPD officials have not responded to our requests for comment.
With the increased availability of cheap heroin, there have been cases where local law enforcement officers are administering a drug (Narcan) to save the lives of those believed to be dying from a drug overdose. In Bartholomew County, there have been four cases so far this year where Narcan was used by an officer. We asked law enforcement what happens after Narcan is administered and the subject survives.
BCSD Capt. Steinkoenig says that when Narcan is used, a report will be completed. He notes that it is unlikely that an arrest will be made on the spot due to the immediate medical emergency. However, Steinkoenig says that report will be sent to the Prosecutor’s Office and/or Probation for review of charges. The information will also be given to the Drug Unit. If there are criminal charges filed, he says that is the only way the department can be reimbursed for the cost of the Narcan. Even then, says Steinkoenig, that money would go in to the county’s General Fund.
The Columbus Police Department did not respond to requests for comment.