COLUMBUS - 

State Representative Robert Sprague (R-Findlay) applauded this week’s 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.


“This bill will put first degree heroin felonies in line with first degree cocaine felonies,” said Representative Sprague.  “We need to continue to find solutions to Ohio’s drug epidemic, and this bill is one of many ways to combat the problem.”


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.


Although Representative Sprague is not a primary sponsor of House Bill 171, he is currently sponsoring five bills to address Ohio’s heroin epidemic.  The bill will now be considered in the Ohio Senate.

 
 
 
  
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