Richland County judges oppose Issue 1

If you do not work with meth, heroin, and fentanyl addicts, we urge you at a minimum to do an internet search to see the devastating effects of these drugs.

Issue 1 is not about marijuana use. Marijuana use is already a misdemeanor. Issue 1 is about extremely dangerous and addictive drugs including meth, heroin, fentanyl, LSD, cocaine and K2.

We urge you to recall recent headlines involving, not the use of fentanyl, but the accidental contact of fentanyl by first responders, nurses and children: May 16, 2017, East Liverpool, Ohio, Ohio Police Officer Accidentally Contacts Fentanyl, Overdoses; Aug. 12, 2017, Three Nurses Get a Fentanyl Overdose in Ohio; May 24, 2018, Cincinnati, Mom Charged After 6 Month Old Dies from Fentanyl Poisoning; May 24, 2018, Cleveland, Father Charged in Death of 2 Month Old Son Who Tested Positive for Fentanyl; July 17, 2017, Dayton, Local Baby Girl Dies Due to Carfentanil, Fentanyl Intoxication While with Grandmother; and Sept. 23, 2017, Columbus, Ohio, Child’s Death at Birthday Party Ruled Fentanyl Overdose.

Issue 1 removes the ability of Courts to impose jail time for people using these very dangerous drugs. Many addicts in recovery acknowledge the fact that they would not have gotten clean without the threat of jail time or the actual imposition of jail time.

Issue 1 will destroy our Drug Courts. The relapse rate for users of heroin is approximately 90-95 percent. In the Richland County Common Pleas Drug Court, the relapse rate is 30 percent. Drug Courts work.

Finally, Issue 1 does not appropriately balance the purposes of incarceration. Punishment and rehabilitation are only two aspects of incarceration. Incarceration is also a way to protect society. We have a duty to protect the public, our families and our children; and to deter the criminal possession of these extremely dangerous and addictive drugs. Rules and laws matter.

If you are voting for Issue 1 simply to make a statement to the legislature, you are making a grave mistake. The polls indicate that Issue 1 is going to pass. Please educate yourself before voting for Issue 1.

Judge Heather Cockley, Richland County Common Pleas Court, Domestic Relations Division

Judge Brent Robinson, Judge Richland County Common Pleas Court, General Division