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Dayton’s East End Takes On Heroin Epidemic

Twin Towers in Dayton. St. Mary's Church, in the background, is central to the neighborhood's history. east side east end
Lewis Wallace

Accidental overdoses, including those caused by heroin, continue to rise in Ohio and in Montgomery County. Now a local non-profit is joining the fight to turn those numbers around.

On Wednesday evening East End Community Services trained local residents how to administer an overdose medicine, naloxone, which interrupts the effects of heroin or morphine overdose.

“This is really out of our realm, to be perfectly honest for East End,” says Amanda Arrington, the Director of Community Development. “We’re not a treatment center, we don’t do substance abuse counseling...but we’re really kind of jumping in to this whole opiate, overdose epidemic that we have.”

A state law just passed in March got rid of restrictions on administering naloxone; previously, only medical professionals and people with prescriptions could carry and administer naloxone. A doctor was on hand for Wednesday’s training and about 30 kits were distributed.

Community workers say the heroin problem is particularly devastating in east Dayton. This week the Dayton Daily News reported a 31-year-old man and his mother overdosed on heroin in east Dayton—the younger man died, while the woman recovered in the hospital.  

“We could be saving lives,” says Arrington.

Jerry Kenney was introduced to WYSO by a friend and within a year of first tuning in became an avid listener and supporter. He began volunteering at the station in 1991 and began hosting Alpha Rhythms in February of 1992. Jerry joined the WYSO staff in 2007 as a host of All Things Considered and soon transitioned into hosting Morning Edition. In addition to now hosting All Things Considered, Jerry is the host and producer of WYSO Weekend, WYSO's weekly news and arts magazine. He has also produced several radio dramas for WYSO in collaboration with local theater companies. Jerry has won several Ohio AP awards as well as an award from PRINDI for his work with the WYSO news department. Jerry says that the best part of his job is being able to talk to people in the community and share their experiences with WYSO listeners.