OPINION: Judge says Ohioans should vote no on Issue 1

EDITOR'S NOTE: THIS IS AN OPINION PIECE. On Nov. 6, Ohio voters will get the chance to weigh in on Issue 1, a proposed constitutional amendment that, if passed, would make major changes to the state's drug laws and how they're enforced.

The issue has become hotly debated – many judges, prosecutors and law enforcement leaders are against it, arguing that it will make it harder to fight drug crime; the issue is supported by numerous civil-liberties and minority groups that argue it's a long-overdue fix to antiquated laws.

Here is a sampling of some of the pro and con arguments swirling around the issue.

The Dayton Daily News is committed to presenting all sides of important issues. To see opinion commentary supporting Issue 1, click here. To see opinion commentary against Issue 1, click here

This opinion piece has been written by Judge Robert W. Rettich III, Miamisburg Municipal Court.

Don’t be fooled by its title — please vote no on Issue 1. I believe opiate addiction is the greatest public health crisis in America. Overdose is the leading cause of death for Americans under 50 — 115 people die from opiate overdose every single day. We are at war with opiate addiction, and Ohio is a key battleground. To be candid, I am in the trenches every day. I personally see the faces of those lost to addiction. Issue 1 would eliminate our most effective weapons in fighting this war. It will literally cost lives.

»TRENDING: What is State Issue 1 on the Ohio ballot this fall?

Issue 1 would stop Ohio from rapidly responding to any changes in the war on opiates. It 1 locks us into a Constitutional Amendment, which is almost impossible to change.Issue 1 may sound like a good plan, but it won’t work, and we can’t change it if it’s passed. We need to be able to adapt quickly in the changing opiate war.

Issue 1 would take away Ohio Judges’ ability to force drug treatment. Ohio had just under 5,000 overdose deaths in 2017. If Issue 1 passes, I would have no choice but to release people I knew would use drugs and possibly die.

» WHAT THE CANDIDATES SAY: Governor candidates DeWine, Cordray debate Issue 1

The war on opiates is far from over, but I believe we have seen a turn in the tide. Things will keep improving so long as law enforcement, the judicial system, drug treatment providers, and the addicted are allowed to continue fighting together. Issue 1 would be an unconditional surrender, and eliminate all the progress we’ve made against opiate addiction and death. Please Vote NO on Issue 1.