Ohio may increase the penalties on people who solicit prostitutes in an effort to fight the state’s opioid crisis.
A bill proposed would increase the penalty from a third-degree to a first-degree misdemeanor. Those convicted could face up to 180 days in jail. Currently the penalty is up to 60 days.
The bill was introduced by Rep. Adam Miller, D-Columbus, and Rep. Jim Hughes, R-Upper Arlington.
The Columbus Dispatch reports Democrat Sen. Enda Brown and Republican Sen. Stephanie Kunze plan to sponsor a sister bill that would increase the potential fine for so-called “johns” from $500 to $2,500.
Brown says drug abuse leaves people vulnerable and susceptible to fueling their addiction any way they can. She says that’s resulted in a rise in prostitution among women suffering from addiction.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.