Nice, lets make it look good here in RC – LOL!
The number of Ohioans killed by drug overdoses again eclipsed the number of drug dealers sent to prison, and the gap is growing.
Drug overdoses surpassed the number of people sentenced to prison for drug trafficking for the first time in 2012, but the gap widened dramatically in 2013, according to recently released Ohio Department of Health data that showed overdose deaths broke another state record.
In 2013, 266 more people died of drug overdoses than drug dealers were sentenced to prison compared to 19 more deaths than incarcerations in 2012.
Drugs led to 2,110 Ohio deaths in 2013 — a 48 percent increase over five years, while 1,844 people were incarcerated for drug trafficking — a 35 percent decrease over five years, according to a Gannett Ohio analysis of health and prison departments’ data.
In Richland County, fewer people died of overdoses than were sent to prison for drug trafficking in 2013. That year, 22 people died of drug overdoses and 26 people were incarcerated for drug trafficking. In 2012, 11 people died of overdoses and 32 were sent to prison for drug trafficking.
Yes, we do tend to scare them more here by sending them away, but for how long? Most are lucky to serve more much time. Remember the LARGEST COCAINE BUST from a couple years ago, guys out! Remember the cop who protected the bath salts dealer, yes DeWeese gave him a year? Here’s the story! – With another pending here that we are ALL watching. Yes, keep sending them for short stints in prison, makes for great fund raising when they get out. Here in Richland County we change lives, we make them Judges and hire at our Community Alternative Centers while attacking those who expose, does that make sense? It does to Drew Tyler!
The sentence for felony drug trafficking can range from probation to more than a decade in prison depending on the type of drug, the amount sold and previous convictions. Sentencing reform in 2011 restricted judges from sending first-time, low-level, nonviolent offenders, like drug dealers, to prison.
Mark Schweikert, Ohio Judicial Conference executive director, said while some argue incarceration is a good motivation for someone to get effective drug treatment, others point to community drug treatment programs as being more effective than prison ones.
“Most drug use and much of drug trafficking is driven by addiction and not likely deterred by an increased penalty, particularly in the most addictive drugs such as heroin and opiates … For the trafficking offender who is not a user and is motivated by profit, the increased penalty may be a deterrence,” Schweikert said. “In any case, just removing them from the community may improve public safety for the time they are incarcerated.”
Gary Daniels, chief lobbyist for the ACLU of Ohio, rejects sentiments that incarceration is the answer to the drug problem.
“As I often say, the so-called ‘War On Drugs’ has been a complete failure using any objective measure,” Daniels said. “Illegal drugs are just as prevalent and cheap as ever, if not more so, despite billions and billions of dollars spent over the past several decades. Government at all levels has tried to incarcerate its way out of this problem and that clearly has not worked and will not work. Yet, the response by many elected officials is to inexplicably double-down on laws and policies proven not to be effective.”
Daniels called for adequate funding for drug treatment and more focus given to factors that lead people to use and abuse drugs.
“Few people seem willing to address the complex issues,” Daniels said. “That’s been the practice for decades, and I’m not sure how much more evidence we need to demonstrate the current approach simply does not and will not work.”
Prison Director Gary Mohr, a supporter of sentencing reform in 2011, often has said community-based drug treatment options are a better solution than prison for addicts. Gov. John Kasich’s budget proposal doubles drug treatment funding in prison and directs millions of dollars toward rural communities to develop community-based sentencing options.
The Department of Rehabilitation and Correction declined comment, but noted the incarceration rate for trafficking went up 4 percent in 2014, the first increase since 2008. Statewide overdose numbers for 2014 won’t be available for another year.
Prosecutors rarely charge drug dealers with causing the deaths of those who overdose. Hamilton County saw its first case in September when a Cincinnati couple was charged with involuntary manslaughter for supplying heroin that killed a 21-year-old man. Last year, a woman was charged with causing the heroin death of another in Marion County — one of two cases the county prosecutor could recall.
The most serious offense a drug dealer can face for causing an overdose is involuntary manslaughter, which has a maximum penalty of 11 years in prison.
In December, the Ohio House of Representatives voted 65-18 to increase the penalty for causing a drug overdose. The bill, introduced by Rep. Jim Butler, R-Oakwood, would have made it possible for prosecutors to charge drug dealers with aggravated murder if the victim of the overdose was younger than 18. That charge could lead to life in prison without parole.
Several states have laws that allow drug dealers to be charged with murder for fatal overdoses. The offense can lead to the death penalty in Florida and Nevada, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
“(T)his bill would provide a much-needed criminal deterrent, as well as accountability for drug dealer’s role in Ohio overdose deaths,” Ohio Attorney General DeWine wrote in a letter of support.
The bill died at the end of the lame-duck session and has not been reintroduced.
Jona Ison contributed to this report.