Vote ‘no’ on state Issue 1 to preserve drug courts

Vote ‘no’ on state Issue 1 to preserve drug courts

Proponents of state Issue 1 believe that Ohio can solve substance addiction by essentially decriminalizing the possession of any drug of abuse of less than 20 grams by reducing possession to a misdemeanor and by limiting jail sentences for probation violations. But the truth is that an addict’s involvement in the criminal-justice system – with freedom on the line– can present a meaningful opportunity for recovery through Ohio’s drug treatment courts.

Anyone who has watched, in anguish as a loved one battles substance addiction knows – recovery will not occur until there is a rock bottom. For some, it happens when they lose a job or two, or when they see themselves in the friend who just overdosed and died, or when their family and friends participate in an intervention.

Often, however, rock bottom happens when an addict is caught in and convicted of a criminal act, and stands before a judge awaiting sentencing, where freedom and liberty hang in the balance. If they are ready and willing to receive treatment and lucky enough to be standing before a judge who has chosen to operate a drug treatment court, the research shows that they are in the best possible position to beat substance addiction and never return to the criminal justice system.

Any successful drug-court graduate will tell you that without the impending threat of the loss of freedom and liberty they never would have chosen and stayed the course of recovery.

But we need to do more. Now is the time – with research evidence in hand that Ohio’s drug treatment courts are cost effectively reducing recidivism – to grow drug treatment courts, experiment with the development of more joint-jurisdiction drug treatment courts, and integrate additional life-skill facets into our existing drug treatment courts to strengthen and increase successful outcomes.

Sharon Kennedy, Columbus

Sharon Kennedy is a justice on the Supreme Court of Ohio.

Invest in drug treatment with ‘yes’ vote on Issue 1

It was devastating to watch my daughter struggle with addiction, but as a social worker I thought I could help. When she was ready to get treatment, I thought I would be able to tap into my professional networks to help her. I was very wrong.

Getting into an inpatient treatment facility in Ohio proved to be impossible. We were offered a detox center with a three- to 10-day wait. I needed to act quickly while she was willing to go. I found an inpatient treatment facility that would take my daughter immediately in Indiana.

That experience opened my eyes to a big problem we face in Ohio. Many people talk about our state’s drug addiction problem, but far fewer people talk about our lack of drug- treatment facilities.

I support Issue 1 because we must invest in drug treatment. Changing low-level drug possession to a misdemeanor and emphasizing treatment over prison will save money and provide the funds needed to effectively treat those who are drug addicted, which will save lives and further reduce government spending.

Ohio experiences more overdose deaths per capita than any state in the nation. Research shows supervision and treatment at the community level are more effective than prison at addressing addiction and stopping repeat crime. Imprisonment costs us so much money – $1.8 billion annually for the state corrections budget – that we don’t have adequate funding for proven drug-treatment programs.

It’s time to stop wasting taxpayer dollars on costly and crowded prisons and implement a more balanced approach to public safety that will address our state’s drug-addiction crisis. We can’t afford to wait any longer. We must invest in our communities, in our children and in our future. And on Tuesday, Nov. 6, we must vote for Issue 1.

Amand a Kiger, East Liverpool

Separating kids at border is un-Christian, inhumane

I ‘m emotionally moved by the thought of our Republican-controlled country ripping infants, toddlers and youths from their mothers’ arms and sometimes breasts. They’re then thrown in metal cages on concrete floors with nothing but a metal blanket. To add to the trauma, they even separated siblings just for the cruelty.

Now many children can’t be reunited with parents because no one had the heart to track and identify these kids. These are not farm animals; they are little human beings who are innocent of any wrongdoing.

If you are all right with this inhumanity, please don’t call yourself Christians.

Frederick Day Sr., Youngstown

Tell members of Congress not to fund Yemen warfare

On a recent news- cast, we were urged to write to our representatives in Congress and urge them to stop the sales of arms that are responsible for the killings and maiming of thousands of poor Yemenis, especially children. Those who are not dying from bombs and missiles (made in America) die from cholera, lack of sanitation and starvation.

Those who are paying the ultimate price for this proxy war are mostly the children, the weak, the elderly, and those too poor to flee this inferno.

I was going to write this letter to our congressman, the Honorable Tim Ryan. But on a second thought, it seemed that through The Vindicator, my letter will reach all the Honorable Tim Ryans in the United States.

Those honorable members of Congress are elected by us to be the guardians of our democracy, our morals, our values, our security, and all that which is good and noble – all that which we live for and die for.

I was dismayed, as many Americans with conscience are, when reportedly, our secretary of state said that not selling arms to those engaged in the Yemen war would mean a loss of at least $2 billion in business!

Mr. Secretary, I just hope and pray that you were “misquoted”, “misunderstood” or you just did not mean what you said. But if what you said is true, if what you said represents the views of those in power in our government, then the rest of us, the majority of Americans who are kind, generous, compassionate, ethical, decent, should cry for our beloved country – the country that was known as the merchant of mercy, but has degenerated into the merchant of death.

I pray for divine guidance for all our leaders, who lead us through the valley of hope, of charity, and justice, not the valley of destruction and death.

Rashid Abdu, M.D., Canfield

Similar sentiments elected Presidents Obama, Trump

President Barack Obama (44th) and President Donald Trump (45th) could not govern more differently from each other, but their ascendancy to the highest office reflects similar voter sentiment.

With Obama, the electorate were tired of the Bushes, wary of Hillary Clinton in 2008 and looking for someone who promised transparency and healing from racial tension. Fresh-faced 44 was their man in the person of Barack Hussein Obama for two terms.

With Donald Trump, we didn’t want either of the other 16 primary contenders or Mrs. Clinton who campaigned with an agenda not unlike Obama’s failed promises.

Trump promised economic resurgence and border protection. By almost any measure, the American economy is surging and the number of illegal immigrants entering the country has diminished significantly.

Two similar surprising trajectories electing two different presidents.

If Trump’s policies continue their current trends, his re-election is assured and the frequent writer in these pages from Western Pennsylvania will be surely disappointed – once again.

Atty. Carl Rafoth, Canfield