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Sheriff: Issue 1 would make Ohio magnet for drug dealers

Top government leaders in Fairfield County are warning voters not to support Issue 1 which Ohio voters will see on the November ballot.

The Fairfield County Sheriff, Prosecutor, Coroner and other county leaders held a news conference Tuesday to plead with voters to vote ‘no’ on Issue 1. 

The measure would reduce some jail sentences by 25% and downgrade some drug crimes from felonies to misdemeanors. County officials said they believe Issue 1 will put Ohio families in danger. 

“This Law is bad for the communities. It’s going to lead to more deaths, it’ll be a magnet for drug dealers to come into Ohio,” said Fairfield County Sheriff Dave Phalen.

Supporters told NBC4 Issue 1 would actually make Ohio safer and help fix the state’s opioid crisis. They said the measure would help break the cycle of incarceration and save money to help addicts get clean and rehabilitate inmates.

“We need to try something different and this is it because Ohioans want it,” said Issue 1 Supporter Shakyra Diaz.

Sheriff Phalen said if it’s voted through, Ohio would become ripe with drug dealers knowing how to work the system.

“You could have under 20 grams on fentanyl and that is enough to kill 10,000 people, that’s how powerful that drug is and again be a misdemeanor no jail time only probation,” he said.

Diaz said that’s misleading and said offenders, in this case, could still be charged with other crimes, like trafficking.

She said the law is meant to help struggling addicts get the help they need to get clean and stay out of jail, in turn saving money to rehabilitate offenders instead of cycling them through jail.

“We’re standing by and allowing 14 people to die a day,” she said. “We are failing to provide the adequate treatment that Ohioans deserve.” 

“Less prisons, more treatment because that’s what we need.”


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