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Why one Ohio lawmaker wants first responders to ignore opioid overdose calls (2017)

The opioid crisis sweeping the country is putting a growing financial and emotional strain on many communities. More than 4,000 people died from unintentional drug overdoses last year in Ohio alone. Many coroners in the state say the death toll will be higher this year.

CBS News correspondent Tony Dokoupil visited Middletown, Ohio, where the sheriff is refusing to allow deputies to carry the opioid antidote naloxone because of safety concerns.

According to one estimate, opioids could kill nearly half a million people over the next decade. That's like losing the entire population of Atlanta.

Middletown has already seen more overdose calls this year than in all of 2016. CBS News got a first-hand look at the problem overwhelming the city, prompting some to propose extreme solutions.

Dokoupil was along for the ride as first responders in Middletown made their way to a fifth overdose call in just over an hour.

"It seems that, you know, the dealer may have made his rounds," EMS Capt. David Von Bargen said. "And various people are startin' to fall out now."

On this call, he saw a woman turning blue on the ground outside her friend's house. Medics worked quickly and were able to save her -- at least for now.

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