A group in Trumbull County that’s been at the forefront of the opioid epidemic is opposing State Issue 1.
The Trumbull County Mental Health and Recovery Board unanimously decided to oppose Issue 1 because the board says it does not address the opioid problem as intended, saying there is no stipulation that people with substance use disorders will receive treatment.
The Trumbull County Mental Health and Recovery Board says there are already laws and treatment programs in place.
Issue 1 would change low-level, nonviolent, simple drug possession crimes from felonies to misdemeanors. It would also require things like community service for people who violate probation, instead of sending them to prison.
Issue 1 would additionally give people a chance to earn credit to rehabilitate themselves and direct all prison cost savings to local drug treatment programs.
The board’s main problem was the issue’s language that makes possession of fentanyl, heroin, cocaine and LSD a misdemeanor.
“I think the best way to do it is legislatively,” said Executive Director April Caraway. “We’re working closely with our legislators now. They’ve done a lot of things to reduce prescribing, to increase use of Narcan, to help with other low-level misdemeanors, giving money to drug courts to give people the help they need. I think a constitutional amendment really blocks people into certain things and that’s one of the concerns of the board.”
We tried contacting the group pushing for the passage of State Issue 1 but have not heard back.
However, the campaign’s website says “it’s time to stop wasting prison space on people convicted of nonviolent crimes and people that are no longer a threat to public safety.”