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Overdoses on steady decline, changing to meth

By Marissa E. Lane, Staff Writer

While May was the start of a busy season for Spirit Medical Transport, they came bearing good news to the county commissioners meeting on Monday, June 4.

The first tidbit of good news is that overdoses in Union County have continued to decline since the beginning of the year. While the representative from Spirit couldn't confirm an exact reason for this decline, he said that it might be in part due to the increasing accessibility to Narcan and/or the shift back to methamphetamines as the drug of choice. He also speculated that the shift back to methamphetamines could be in part because of fentanyl and other deadly substances being found in heroin.

Spirit Medical Transport has also offered two more Union County residents scholarships for their next EMT training course. Miranda Nicholson and Casey Lowery, both of Liberty, will be attending classes in Greenville from June 18 through August 9, before going through field training and joining the Liberty station. The previous two students from Union County, Nolan Hensley and Whitney Reffitt completed their course last week and will be training with an officer for the next four weeks. Hensley and Reffitt will ideally be working on a Liberty-based ambulance by the Fourth of July holiday. All in all, Spirit Medical Transport will soon be employing eight Union County residents.

At their June 4 meeting, commissioners also:

*heard updates on several road projects. The highway department is still waiting on permits and contracts for the Brownsville Bridge, which the county declared an emergency in April, but hopefully work will start soon. Bridge 22 on Old Brownsville Road still needs a guard rail and to be paved, but construction is otherwise done. Grinding has begun on the way to Franklin County, but there won't be any road closures or detours, just slower traffic until the project is finished.

*agreed to have a representative from Rumpke come into their June 18 meeting to discuss issues with the dumpster and how to save the county money on recycling.

*continued the discussion of the necessary repairs at the jail building and the decision to move 911 dispatch to a larger conference room in the building.

*cleared up any confusion about the recent issues with the health board. Paulette Worcester, CNP, resigned at a public meeting in April after a conflict of interest was pointed out between her operating the opiate clinic and serving on the board. Commissioners Alan Alcorn and Paul Wiwi were both in attendance and accepted her verbal resignation. More recently, Worcester has stated interest in returning to the board and volunteering her services for the clinic. At a meeting in May, commissioners appointed Trisha Persinger to the open seat on the board, and they stand by that decision.