Ohio United Way
Position on State Issue 1
The Ohio Drug Treatment Initiative
Improving the delivery of health and human services makes a positive difference in peoples’ lives.
The Ohio United Way supports the goals of Issue 1, the Drug Treatment Initiative, but cannot support amending the state’s constitution for this purpose.
The Ohio United Way’s current Public Policy Strategic Direction identifies the expansion of available and affordable quality health care, alcohol, drug addiction, and mental health services as one way to make that positive difference. Today, the need for drug treatment and prevention services outstrips available resources. Statistics on prison populations indicate, with no uncertainty, that there are disparities in our criminal justice system, where the nature and duration of punishment for drug-related offenses differs by population and by drug. Drug treatment can break the cycle of dependency and criminality, resulting in gains in human potential and lower incarceration costs.
State expansion of drug treatment services for persons involved in the criminal justice system is not a partisan, race, or union issue. It is a complex issue that requires public discourse.
As with any issue concerning human beings, research and public opinion continually change regarding drug dependency and treatment strategies. Issue 1 would add a new, detail-rich Article to Ohio’s Constitution based on one current approach to the issue. The level of detail contained in the proposed constitutional amendment is not appropriate for the constitution, but is appropriate for the Ohio Revised Code.
OUW supports the goals of the Ohio Drug Treatment Initiative, but believes that a legislatively-derived solution with significant public input would result in better public policy for Ohio and all individuals, including first- or second-time offenders, who need treatment services. Ohioans care about this issue. We encourage the legislature to work with the Governor and other interested parties, including the Ohio United Way, to address these needs as soon as possible in the next legislative session.