Weilbacher Discusses Opioids

Staff Writer

The Oct. 11 edition of The Evening Leader featured an interview with Auglaize County Municipal Court judge candidate David Weilbacher.
Weilbacher also spoke to The Evening Leader about the area's opioid epidemic, which is below.

Weilbacher noted most of the opioid cases would be felonies, so they would only come to the municipal court at the arraignment level. He said the folks affected usually fall into three categories: Dealers, addicts and experimenters.
He described experimenters as those who have tried the drug and gotten caught.
"For those folks, the sheer fact they've been caught and suffer those consequences is probably going to be enough to set them straight, and they're probably not going to go down that path again," Weilbacher said.
For addicts, he said there has to be a treatment component.
"You've got to treat the underlying cause," Weilbacher said. "Treating the cause is going to be the only way you're going to get a 'cure.'"
He said the cause could be a physical pain issue or a mental health issue.
"You've got to identify that cause and try to find a solution that's going to treat that cause," Weilbacher said. "Sometimes that means they have to go to jail; sometimes that means that's the only place where you can get them treatment. I do know that if you simply send them to jail and never address the cause of the addiction, as soon as they get out, they're going to go right back to it."
For the dealers who treat it as a business, they have usually been failed by the system, Weilbacher said, noting it is usually the educational system — many of them can't read nor write.
"I would say at least 50 percent of the time, either they can read it or they read it with severe difficulty," he said of a rights sheet he gave his clients. "Even with they read it with some difficulty, they have a hard time (comprehending) it."
Weilbacher suggested vocational training as part of sentencing so they could "have a livelihood to support them and their families so they don't have to turn to that."
He also noted the voters who are angry because of the fiscal standpoint of the opioid epidemic, such as with the Narcan shot.
"We were at their house last week and had to give them the Narcan shot and the week before, how many times are you going to continue to do that," he said, adding it's not something for him to decide. "It puts medical professionals and EMTs in a very difficult position."
Weilbacher said part of the issue is heroin being cut with fentanyl, which is stronger than heroin.
"Fentanyl is fast acting; it hits its peak in about five minutes," Weilbacher said, noting opioids affect a person's respiratory system. "When you take heroin, let's say it's not cut with fentanyl, it's slow acting, and as your respiratory system is repressed, your body starts building up carbon dioxide and it forces you to start breathing harder. Your body will start to counteract this effect. With fentanyl because it comes on so fast, your body doesn't have the opportunity to build up the carbon dioxide, which in turn, never signals your body to start breathing harder ... I think that's part of the reason you're seeing so many overdoses because of what it's laced with."