East Liverpool residents hold meeting on issue 1, why they say ‘vote yes’

Local News

About 25 people showed up this evening at a community center in East Liverpool to hear why Ohio voters in November should vote yes on issue one.

“We would be offering these people treatment which is what I feel that they so desperately need because I know that’s what worked for me,” said Mitzi Stoddard, who lives in East Liverpool.

29-year-old Stoddard says she was addicted to crack cocaine and heroin for 10 years. She spent time in prison, which never helped her.

“Putting me in jail cell never did anything but make me hate myself more than I already did. When I went to treatment was when I got the mental health services that I needed,” she said.

“You’ve got people destroying your communities and you’re going to make it easier for them to do so,” East Liverpool Police Chief John Lane said.

Neither Chief Lane or Mayor Ryan Stovall attended the meeting because they oppose Issue One. They really don’t like the proposal to make the possession of fewer than 20 grams of fentanyl a misdemeanor.

“And 19 grams is enough to kill 10,000 people. Well, that’s roughly the size of my city. So it’s just a bad idea,” Mayor Stovall said.

“If you’re using drugs then you should be charged with using. If you’re selling drugs then you should be charged with selling drugs,” said Dennis Willard, who is voting yes on issue one.

The vote yes on issue one campaign made East Liverpool a stop because drugs have hit the city hard.

The picture two years ago of two adults overdosed with a child in the back seat brought East Liverpool nationwide attention.

“Family care ministries is right across the street from us, and we’ve had real good success with them,” Chief Lane said. “It seems to work. It’s working really well for our community. Our number of overdoses have dropped dramatically.”

“And I feel that issue one is going to remove that stigma from thereby removing that felony label and give these people an opportunity to get back on their feet and do what they need to do for themselves,” Stoddard said.

Even the two candidates for Ohio Governor differ have differing opinions on Issue One. Democrat Richard Cordray supports it, while Republican Mike DeWine is against it.

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