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Advocates Scramble To Collect Signatures For Drug Rehabilitation Amendment

voting booths
John Minchillo
Associated Press

While many Ohioans are enjoying picnics, parades and fireworks, community activists are hustling to meet the July 4 deadline for getting their ballot issue in front of voters.

The Ohio Safe and Healthy Communities campaign – a coalition of community, law enforcement, faith and business leaders from around the state – is backing the “Neighborhood Safety, Drug Treatment and Rehabilitation” amendment. The proposal would push the state to spend more money on treatment for drug addiction instead of on prisons.

Advocates hope to present more than 700,000 signatures from registered voters to the Secretary of State’s office to put the issue on the statewide ballot this fall – more than double the required number.

In a written statement, the group says the large number of signatures gathered are “testament to the number of Ohioans who want our state to invest in proven treatment for addiction instead of more spending on bloated prisons.”

If passed, the amendment would reduce nonviolent drug crimes to misdemeanors and direct state money into drug treatment programs.

Jo Ingles is a professional journalist who covers politics and Ohio government for the Ohio Public Radio and Television for the Ohio Public Radio and Television Statehouse News Bureau. She reports on issues of importance to Ohioans including education, legislation, politics, and life and death issues such as capital punishment.