Ohio legislators introduced three bills that will create stiffer penalties for drug-related offenses and send more Ohioans to our overcrowded jails and prisons. House Bill 4, Senate Bill 1, and Senate Bill 42 continue the misguided "War on Drugs," even though criminalization has failed to solve drug use and addiction for decades.
- House Bill 4 will restore the practice of treating mixtures added to cocaine (like baking soda) the same as cocaine for sentencing purposes.
- Senate Bill 1 will increase penalties for fentanyl, including low-level possession, and mixtures added to fentanyl will be treated the same as fentanyl for sentencing purposes.
- Senate Bill 42 will ensure that any mixtures added to drugs will be treated the same as the actual drug — for all drugs.
All three bills will increase penalties for drug mixtures while doing nothing to curb drug use and addiction in Ohio. For instance, a person arrested with 3 grams of an illegal drug mixed with 7 grams of another substance, would be charged as if all 10 grams are the illegal drug. Rather than continuing down this troubled path, Ohio should treat drug use and addiction for what it is — a public health issue.
We need to heal communities and reform our criminal justice system, but legislators are approaching this issue the wrong way by continuing to treat drug use and addiction as a crime. We need you to contact your state senator and state representative and urge them to stop these bills.