The Butler County Sheriff’s Office recently sealed a $400,000 pharmacy contract for the jail, but the bigger medical issue at the facility is dealing with alcoholics, officials said.
The opioid epidemic has been a huge drain on every facet of the county ,and it continues to have an impact. Chief Deputy Anthony Dwyer said detoxifying drug addicts, however, are not the biggest problem the jail has.
“The most acute detox problem we have isn’t heroin, meth, cocaine or any of that, it’s alcohol,” Dwyer said.
“The potential for fatal alcohol withdrawal is higher than most others here. If you have a really, really bad alcoholic that comes in, those are the ones that cause a little more attention from the medical staff. When they go down, they go down bad.”
Dwyer officials need to start those experiencing the worst alcohol withdrawals on IVs to keep them hydrated when they come into the jail, and sometimes they are transported to the hospital.
Scott Rasmus, executive director of the Butler County Mental Health & Addiction Recovery Services Board, said the difference is with a drug addiction the person will feel sick for a time but then recover. An alcoholic in withdrawal can go into seizures and die, so strict attention by medical staff is essential.
“It’s a longer process and more costly and then you typically need medical support staff to watch those folks,” Rasmus said.
“Where folks that are withdrawing from opiates, even though they may feel terrible and they may vomit and things like that, they are not at risk for seizures or death, due to the withdrawal process.”
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