State Representative Marlene Anielski (R-Walton Hills) applauded the passage of House Bill 171, which strengthens penalties for heroin possession and trafficking.

Under current law, a person caught possessing or trafficking 200 or more grams of heroin is considered a “major drug offender” and must be sentenced by the court to 11 years in prison, the maximum for first degree felonies. HB 171 would apply the same punishments, while lowering the amount of heroin to 100 grams. Enforcement of strict drug laws has become increasingly imperative due to the sophisticated nature of today’s drug dealers, who are often in tune with the law and carry as much as possible before the worst punishment.

“Strengthening the penalties for trafficking heroin will only make our communities safer,” Rep. Anielski said. “House Bill 171 is another step in the right direction for tackling the drug epidemic that has plagued our state for far too long.”

Heroin abuse has been a growing problem throughout Ohio in recent years. The Ohio State Highway Patrol reported seizing 14,257 grams of heroin last year. In 2013, which is the most recent data available, Ohio experienced 983 heroin-related deaths.

The bill now goes to the Ohio Senate for further consideration.

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