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Lawmakers call for national state of emergency declaration as opioid crisis hits hard

Lawmakers call for national state of emergency declaration as opioid crisis hits hard (WKEF/WRGT File Photo)

MIAMI VALLEY, Ohio (WKEF/WRGT) – Federal lawmakers are calling for President Donald Trump to declare a national state of emergency as the opioid crisis hits hard across the nation, including right here in the Miami Valley.

Nathan Wylie, a 13-year-old big brother, was just one of the victims of the epidemic.

He and his brother were born into the world of drugs, only Nathan didn’t make it out.

“That innocence,” Nathan’s aunt Penny Brilbrey said. “Neither one of them had it.”

Nathan’s narrative is echoed in more stories from across the country than ever before, as the opioid epidemic continues to claim it’s victims.

“I think it needs to be more national news,” she said. “We are definitely in a crisis.”

The federal government agrees, and a national commission working on fighting the epidemic wants the president to declare it an emergency.

Montgomery County Addiction and Mental Health Service Public Information Officer Ann Stevens said she’s on board with the idea.

“The federal government apparently needs to take a lead on this,” she said.

They want the president to fund new initiatives, including the development of fentanyl detectors, increase access to treatment facilities and give Naloxone to every cop on the street.

“If this was your family member,” she said, “would you want the officer or the first responder to just let them die?”

A Nalaxone injection couldn’t help Nathan, but has saved many others. Lawmakers now want to see a prescription for it come with every high-risk opioid prescription, just in case it falls in the wrong hands.

“These children are going to be our leaders,” Bribley said, “and there’s probably more kids affected by drugs than not.”

Those children come from all walks of life, and they include kids like Nathan.

“Don’t think that it can’t,” she said.

The commission’s leader to the president is only the beginning. They plan to address the issue again with the president in the fall.

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