State Representative Jonathan Dever (R-Madeira) today applauded Governor John Kasich’s signing of House Bill 171, legislation that lowers the amount of heroin in possession to be considered a major drug offender. Rep. Dever sponsored the bill with Rep. Bill Blessing (R-Colerain).
Under current law, the trafficking or possession of between 50 and 250 grams of heroin is considered a first degree felony. A person who has committed such a crime is punishable by a mandatory prison term of three to 11 years. If the amount of heroin exceeds 250 grams, the person is a major drug offender and must serve the maximum prison term (11 years).
HB 171 lowers this amount of heroin to 100 grams, putting the offense on par with the penalties for possessing equal amounts of cocaine.
“Ohio’s heroin epidemic can be seen in each community throughout our state; therefore, I am proud to see HB 171 signed by the Governor,” Dever said. “This legislation will hold the drug dealers who are poisoning our neighborhoods accountable while we continue to help the addicted seek treatment. There is no silver bullet for ridding Ohio of heroin, but this law is a part of a solution that includes education and treatment options.”
Heroin abuse has been a growing problem throughout Ohio in recent years. The signing of House Bill 171 is one step of many that the state has taken to combat the epidemic by increasing penalties and access to rehabilitation for those struggling with addiction.