Fort Wayne City Council met Tuesday to address the opioid epidemic in Northeast Indiana.
The Fort Wayne Police Department has reported 740 overdoses between January and July of 2017. In the same stretch last year, there were only 365.
Fort Wayne police captain Kevin Hunter says the increase can be attributed to the low cost of drugs like heroin, as well as dangerous additives like fentanyl and carfentanil.
This has strained local enforcement, from the police department to the courts. Judge Wendy Davis presides over felony drug cases, and she says it’s becoming harder to do the job.
“We don’t even have enough judicial officer power to preside over these cases the way we need to,” said Davis. “We work on the weekends, our teams are constantly meeting to figure out how to continue to support all of these drug addicts caught in the system.”
The solutions, however, are hard to find. For example, officials spoke about how Park Center decided to pull plans for a 100-bed treatment facility from a vacant Verizon office on the northeast side after residents expressed concerns over safety and property values.
Officials concluded by informing council of a need for more treatment facilities and options in Northeast Indiana. Park Center says it will continue to search for a location for its facility.