COLUMBUS, Ohio (WYTV) — The Alliance of Safety and Justice plans to launch an ad campaign statewide in support of the Ohio bill addressing addiction.
In alliance with the Buckeye Institute and Law Enforcement Action Law Partnership, the organizations plan to run ads during the Ohio State vs. Michigan game on Saturday, Nov. 30 as well as the Cleveland Browns vs. Pittsburgh Steelers game on Sunday, Dec. 1.
The 60-second spot will detail the story of an Ohio father who lost his son to an overdose after receiving a felony conviction for low-level, simple drug possession.
The multi-week campaign will also include the video in support of Senate Bill 3 to millions of Ohioans through digital platforms.
Father Charles “Chip” Jenkins narrates the experience of his son, Alex, who struggled with addiction.
“Alex was sick, he wasn’t a dangerous person,” Jenkins says about his son in the ad. “That’s why we need Senate Bill 3, which reclassifies low-level drug possession, so Ohioans with addiction can get treatment, not felonies. We must stop this cycle and start treating addiction like a public health issue, because no family should ever experience what we’ve been through.”
In May, Jenkins testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee in favor of the bill.
Senate Bill 3 changes how Ohio’s justice system responds to addiction and minor drug possession to an approach that has been proven to succeed in other states.
The bill reclassifies low-level drug possession to a misdemeanor so Ohioans can get treatment and not have their recovery undermined by the barriers associated with a felony conviction.
According to the Center of Disease and Control’s National Center for Health Statistics, the state of Ohio had the second highest overdose death rate in the country.
“Ohioans are suffering because our current laws continued an approach that is counterproductive and perpetuating a crisis,” said Shakrya Diaz, Ohio State Director of the Alliance for Safety and Justice. “Ohio leaders are appropriately uniting to advance solutions, like Senate Bill 3, to ensure we effectively respond to addiction with treatment and stop wasting public safety resources and harming communities across our state.”
“Employment is one of the best indicators of addiction recovery, and by reclassifying low-level drug possession from a felony to a misdemeanor, Ohio can remove one of the largest impediments to gainful employment for a fragile population. It’s the right thing to do and economically beneficial,” said President and Chief Executive of the Buckeye Institute, Robert Alt.
“Significant barriers to employment, education, housing, and public benefits make those with felony convictions not only more likely to return to using drugs, but also to turn to crime to support themselves. When the response to drug use only makes the effects of that use worse, we need to try something different. We need Senate Bill 3,” according to Ret. Major Neill Franklin, executive director of the Law Enforcement Action Partnership.
Senate Bill 3 has broad, bipartisan support.
Senate President Larry Obhof has indicated that he will take action to pass the bill before the end of the year.