Concerns rise for Issue One in Ohio that would pay for treatment - WFMJ.com News weather sports for Youngstown-Warren Ohio

Concerns rise for Issue One in Ohio that would pay for treatment instead of prison

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A host of judges, lawmakers, and others in the criminal justice system are coming out against Issue One, which will be on the November ballot in Ohio.

Supreme Court Justice Maureen O'Connor believes passage of this issue would make Ohio a haven for drug dealers.

On first glance, it might seem humane to decriminalization possession of drugs, and use the money spent for incarceration on treatment for substance abuse.

However, many officials are speaking out against Issue One.

They explain under Issue One, possessing less than 20 grams of fentanyl would be a misdemeanor and would forbid a judge from imposing jail time.

Yet, experts said 19 grams of fentanyl can kill 10,000 people, and just two milligrams can be a lethal dose.

That is just one problem State Representative Glenn Holmes has with Issue One.

"Right now this is a step towards decriminalization of all illicit drugs and I think that is a very slippery slope and it will not help save lives of people who are addicted to drugs. This should not be in a constitutional amendment," said Holmes.

State Representative Mike O'Brien said it would be constitutionally dictated that the crimes would be misdemeanors and take discretion away from judges in Ohio who have worked through drug courts to helped people get treatment and saved lives.

"There are no mandates for treatment, you need mandated treatment. There have to be consequences to help you. Let's create consequences to help those around us and help save lives. Issue one does not do that," said Holmes.

Proponents say decriminalization will free up more money for treatment and keep people who need treatment out of prison, but others warn voting for Issue One will make the state one of the most lenient in the nation for possession of lethal substances a

Opponents say $4 million has been spent already by outside interests pushing for passage of Issue One. 

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