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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

Issue 1 Supporters Prefer Treatment Over Prison Time, But Opponents Say It Will Weaken Prosecutors

photo of Shakyra Diaz
STATEHOUSE NEWS BUREAU
Shakyra Diaz, of Crime Survivors For Safety and Justice, says State Issue 1 will help cut down the prison population and divert funds toward treatment programs.

Backers of State Issue 1 say the proposed constitutional amendment will move Ohio in the right direction in fighting the opioid crisis. But opponents say the move will weaken law enforcement.

Shakyra Diaz with Crime Survivors for Safety and Justice, a crime victim advocacy group, says Issue 1 will help the state cut down on the prison population and divert the money saved into treatment and rehabilitation programs.

“We don’t have enough treatment options because so much of our public resources are going towards this growing prison system that is housing people who do not pose a public safety risk,” Diaz said.

The statewide ballot measure would amend the state constitution by reducing penalties for nonviolent drug-related crimes.

Opponents say this will weaken law enforcement and take leverage away from prosecutors. They also argue these are changes that should be addressed through policy, not the constitution.