Prairie participates in documentary about heroin


By Amanda Ensinger
Staff Writer

Heroin use on the Westside of Columbus has become an epidemic. And producers from New York City have begun to take notice.

At a recent Prairie Township meeting, the board approved allowing the fire department to participate in a Showtime documentary about the crisis.

“The production company we will be working with is called Traffic Light LLC and they work for Showtime,” said Prairie Township Assistant Fire Chief Allen Scott. “They are doing a documentary about opioid overdoses and are focuses on Ohio for the documentary because Ohio apparently is ground zero for the epidemic.”

According to Scott, the Franklin County Sherriff’s Office has been filming with the New York City based documentary crew for several weeks and suggested they also work with the Prairie Township Fire Department.

The Westside has been greatly effected by the opioid epidemic; in fact Franklin Township Assistant Fire Chief Chas Adams said that township has had more overdoses in one month than they had previously had in two years.

“The problem is so bad that the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office has even formed the H.O.P.E. Task Force,” Scott said. “This task force solely focuses on overdose prevention and education.”

Scott said the problem is just as bad in Prairie Township with crews responding to overdose runs almost daily.

“We just had an overdose this morning that we responded to,” Scott said. “I really don’t know why it is so bad on the Westside, but I know it isn’t unique to our community. It is an issue across the county, but it is really bad on the westside.”

The film crew will follow emergency responders from the Prairie Township Fire Department around for several weeks or months until they get the footage they need.

However, as part of the agreement with the production company, the Prairie Township trustees, administrators and fire department staff can review all footage before it is put into the documentary.

“This is called a right to review and it means we can view all footage and have a say over what footage is used and not used,” Allen said. “Also, the overdose victims have to sign off on any footage of them before it is used in the documentary.”

Allen added that legally the film crew can film an overdose victim from public property, but they cannot go into a person’s home and film without the homeowner’s consent.

The township hopes by participating in this documentary they will raise awareness about this issue.

“Our intent in participating in this is to bring notice to this problem,” Allen said. “We want to help people who have this problem and prevent others from getting involved in it. From an EMS standpoint, if we can prevent this from happening we are doing our job.”

While no date has been set on when the film crews will start working with the township, Allen expects it to start soon since they are already in the area working with the county.

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