Saturday, April 7, 2018
MCARTHUR, Ohio — The opioid epidemic has affected nearly every aspect of life in Vinton County. Teachers buy shoes for students whose addicted parents send them to school in footwear held together with tape. Overdose deaths have surged. Foster care is overwhelmed. The jail is bursting at the seams.
The expenses related to caring for the children of drug abusers and locking up drug offenders here eat up about 25 percent of the Ohio county’s $4 million annual budget, a hole that it can’t plug. Now, Vinton officials think someone should help foot the bill: Big Pharma.
“It almost feels like Vinton County was preyed upon,” said Lily Niple, who got addicted to prescription opioids here but managed to push through, having been clean for more than two years. “It’s like a huge exploitation of the people here. And it was negligent. Just complete disregard for the future.”