Vote ‘no’ on Issue 1


For a third consecutive year, Ohio will see an increase in deaths by unintentional illegal drug overdose. If the trend continues, nearly 13,000 people will have died during this time frame. The primary reason is the introduction of the most lethal street drugs that we have seen in this century.

Fentanyl and Carfentanil, along with heroin, have been the primary culprits in recent months. The unimaginable is that dealers of these drugs are well aware of its hazards, but it has not stopped them from plying their trade to the most vulnerable members of our society: addicts in need of a fix to manage their symptoms and their nearly uncontrollable desire.

Issue 1 must be defeated, because it reduces in unreasonable fashion the penalty of possessing these drugs to distribute. In Delaware County, the criminal justice system has worked hard to direct addicts to appropriate treatment and support, and the prosecutors and judges have used appropriate discretion in holding drug dealers accountable.

The passing of this constitutional amendment will have irreparable damage upon a needed workforce, further impact upon hurting families, and embolden drug dealers with even more latitude in the distribution of these dangerous and illegal drugs.

Supporters of this constitutional amendment, many from outside the state of Ohio, have ulterior motives and have worked hard to circumvent the legislative process. They do not have the best interests of all Ohioans in mind. Your local criminal justice system members collectively have worked diligently to bring local reforms and programs for those afflicted with drug addiction.

We are starting to make a difference through numerous programming aimed at reducing recidivism, increasing court-mandated treatment programs, and focusing more energy on addressing mental health issues. We’re slowly, but surely, seeing change. And that’s how we’ll make a difference. Not by crafting ballot language that sounds good at first glance but in reality is unreasonable, unfunded and unrealistic. It’s dangerous. A colleague of mine in southwestern Ohio said, “Issue 1 will empty jails and fill morgues.” He’s really not that far off.

It’s no wonder your Delaware County elected officials and criminal justice leaders are opposing this issue. We appeal to our local citizens and all Ohioans to do the same. Help us defeat Issue 1. Vote no.

Russell Martin

Delaware County Sheriff

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