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  1. ITV Report

Fentanyl: US town at breaking point with drug addiction

At a trailer park in Ohio, one man has become the latest casualty in a drug epidemic sweeping the US.

His friend has called emergency services. He has taken an overdose - most probably heroin cut with Fentanyl.

This is the addicts's drug of choice in Hamilton, south-west Ohio, a drug 50 times as strong as heroin.

The man appears lifeless at first, but then he is given two doses of narcan, a drug used as an anti-overdose measure.

Within a few minutes, the patient appears to have come round, sitting up and talking.

Ohio has been battling Fentanyl addiction for more than a decade.

This is just the latest example of paramedics armed with narcan being able to save somebody's life.

But now a debate is emerging in Hamilton whether this is the right thing morally for emergency services to be doing.

One sheriff says he knows of one drug addict who has been "narcanned" on eight separate occasions.

Another sheriff, Richard Jones, has banned his deputies from carrying the life-saving narcan.

"It's dangerous for them to administer the narcan," he says.

"You have to get down on your knees, you have to take your eyes off who you're administering this to.

"And these people, for the most part, don't like the police. When you're down doing that you're putting your life in danger."

Richard Jones has banned his police force from administering narcan.

This stance has the backing of many local residents, tired of the increasing problem with Fentanyl in their community.

"This is known as heroin alley," one resident on a small street, blighted by drug addiction, says.

"They go up the street, they buy their drugs, they come down here, they make a deal right on the street corner, they go up the alley, they shoot up."

Another says she has seen two people "die" on the street, only to be brought back to life with narcan.

Many residents in Hamilton approve of the tough measures.

Only a few miles down the road in Middletown, the number of overdoses has trebled in the last year.

One councillor wants a 'three strikes and you're out' policy, stopping paramedics from giving narcan to an addict more than twice.

"I wanted the word to get out that you don't want to come to Middletown to have an overdose because we might not respond," he says.

"They think 'it's OK, we'll do as much as we want, because they're going to come, they're going to give me narcan and I'm going to survive."

The gateway to the west, Hamilton is also the centre of this drug's explosion.

They have been debating how to beat it for a decade, but they're still no closer to knowing how to keep the traffickers out.

Hamilton and Middletown are in Ohio.