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00000174-c556-d691-a376-cdd69e980000Day after day, week after week, the headlines in Northeast Ohio and across much of the country contain news of tragic loss: lives lost to opioids. It’s a problem that knows no bounds: geography, race, gender, level of education or income.The problem took on new urgency this summer as the powerful elephant sedative, Carfentanil, began hitting the streets. First responders armed with their only weapon, the overdose antidote Naloxone, have struggled to keep up with what’s become an overwhelming problem. It’s an issue that’s straining public and social resources. What has become clear is that business as usual is not going to fix the problem.WKSU news has been covering the unfolding crisis. Tuesdays during Morning Edition, the WKSU news team digs even deeper. WKSU reporters will examine what’s led us here and what might be done to turn the tide. Support for Opioids: Turning the Tide in the Crisis comes from Wayne Savings Community Bank, Kent State University Office of Continuing and Distance Education, Hometown Grocery Delivery, Mercy Medical Center, AxessPointe Community Health Center, Community Support Services, Inc., Medina County District Library and Hudson Community First.00000174-c556-d691-a376-cdd69e980001

Ohio Drug Recovery Experts Warn Against Sending Addicts to Jail

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Dan Konik

Drug addiction counselers are speaking out against a bill that would send an ex-convict to jail if they fail a drug test. They say this proposal uses the judicial system to solve a health-care crisis.

Lori Criss is with the Ohio Council of Behavioral Health and Family Service Providers, which advocates for behavioral health services. She says the bill that proposes 30 days in jail when someone on probation tests positive for heroin is a step in the wrong direction. 

“It’s a very delicate time in their life. It would be like someone who has a heart problem going into cardiac arrest, having a heart attack. This is a crisis situation for them and their physical health, and we need to surround them with health care for that," Criss says.

The bill includes language for treatment but the concern is that a program wouldn’t have openings and that person would be sent to jail instead.

The bill's supporters say the threat of jail would cut off drug use before a possible deadly overdose.