Ohio may force people who fail drug test to go to jail or treatment

Published: Wednesday, January 03, 2018 @ 1:13 PM
Updated: Wednesday, January 03, 2018 @ 6:35 PM

A heroin addict pauses to shoot-up. New findings from the CDC says opioids, like heroin, kill more Americans than guns or breast cancer.
A heroin addict pauses to shoot-up. New findings from the CDC says opioids, like heroin, kill more Americans than guns or breast cancer.

Local state Rep. Niraj Antani is pushing a bill that would require people on parole or probation who test positive for illegal opioids be jailed or sent to a 30-day residential drug treatment program.

Antani, a Miamisburg Republican, said drug treatment expenses would be borne by the offender — not the government. Taxpayers foot the bill for jail costs, which average about $65 a day per inmate. House Bill 457 does not include additional funding for jails or drug treatment programs.

Related: Prisons’ high cost fuels search for alternatives in Ohio

Data isn’t available on how many parolees or offenders on probation fail drug tests for opiates on an annual basis. There are roughly 240,000 Ohioans on probation — a large portion of them for drug offenses.

Related: Why are so many Ohioans in prison? 

Antani acknowledges that his measure would put people struggling with addiction into jails.

“But our primary concern has to be the safety of our citizens. I’d rather have jails a little bit more crowded than more people dead of overdoses,” he said. Antani added that he disagrees with those who say America cannot arrest its way out of the drug crisis. “If we arrested every drug dealer and trafficker, it would make a difference.”

Local man died after testing positive for opioids

The bill was inspired by the overdose death of Scottie Childers in January 2017 at the age of 31.

The father of five daughters had been caught in a spiral of drug addiction, jail, treatment and relapses for four years, said his mother, Linda Chambers of Medway. “He was a good person. He was a good father and he worked hard and had a nice home. And he lost it all,” she said. As a condition of probation, Childers was required to take drug tests.

He failed one on Jan. 27 but his Montgomery County probation officer elected not to revoke his probation and send him to jail.

“Would he have died tomorrow or next week or next year, we don’t know. But he wouldn’t have died four hours later (if he had been sent to jail,)” Chambers said.

Chambers said jail is a safe place for people struggling with addiction, until treatment be arranged. “I know you can’t keep them in there. You can’t arrest the problem away. There needs to be more treatment.”

What the opposition says

ACLU of Ohio lobbyist Gary Daniels warns that Antani’s bill won’t solve problems but it will exacerbate many existing issues.

“There is wide, bipartisan recognition this is not a problem we can convict and incarcerate our way out of. Advocates for the ‘lock them up’ approach have had four decades to prove its effectiveness. Yet, the so-called ‘War on Drugs’ has been and remains an absolute failure using any objective standards,” Daniels said in an email.

Jails don’t have the capacity to lock up people who might be affected by such legislation and the demand for drug treatment exceeds supply, he said.

Lori Criss, chief executive of the Ohio Council of Behavioral Health and Family Services Providers, said Ohioans need access to immediate services and long-term drug treatment.

Criss said Antani’s solution would keep people from immediately accessing opiates and could kick start recovery. But, she said, it may create more problems: further overload jails, eliminate the discretion to find the best response to someone’s addiction crisis, give false hope to family members, and treat opioid addictions differently than addictions to other drugs such as cocaine or alcohol.

“It may just delay relapse,” she said. “Addiction is a chronic disease and requires a long-term plan that incorporates a variety of physical, psychological and social strategies for success.”

Even after a year of treatment, relapse rates are more than 60 percent and after three years of recovery support, the relapse rate is 34 percent, she said.

Warren County Sheriff Larry Sims, a member of the Ohio Criminal Sentencing Commission, said jails by default are detox centers for Ohioans gripped by addiction. “We are stuck with that now. We’re stuck with the addiction problems,” he said.

Meanwhile, state Rep. Scott Wiggam, R-Wooster, introduced a bill last month that calls for increasing penalties for felony drug trafficking of heroin, cocaine, fentanyl and other schedule I & II drugs. Wiggam said the bill is supported by prosecutors and law enforcement organizations.

Chambers agrees that stiffer penalties for drug dealers are needed. “It’s wiping out 100 people a day. That’s just crazy numbers. I hate that other people are feeling the pain that I’m feeling right now.”

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Shutdown nixes Trump visit to Mar-a-Lago; party goes on with son Eric headlining

Published: Saturday, January 20, 2018 @ 10:49 PM

Despite President Donald Trump deciding not to travel to Palm Beach on Saturday, January 20, 2018 due to the government shutdown, supporters and protesters stood near Mar-a-Lago. (Photo: Palm Beach Post)
Despite President Donald Trump deciding not to travel to Palm Beach on Saturday, January 20, 2018 due to the government shutdown, supporters and protesters stood near Mar-a-Lago. (Photo: Palm Beach Post)

The federal government shutdown led President Donald Trump to cancel plans to celebrate the anniversary of his first year in office at a $100,000-per-couple fundraiser at Mar-a-Lago on Saturday.

>> Read more trending news

As of Saturday evening, the fundraiser was still set to go on with presidential son Eric Trump and his wife, Lara Trump, and Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna Romney McDaniel as headliners. About 100 donors were expected Saturday night, with their contributions going to the RNC and Trump’s 2020 re-election campaign.

Eric and Lara Trump and McDaniel also spoke to about 100 local Republican activists in West Palm Beach on Saturday morning, urging them to work to preserve the GOP’s imperiled majorities in the House and Senate.

“We’re very, very lucky that we have majorities in the House and Senate. I mean, we’re very, very, very lucky. But let’s not take that for granted as a party because honestly, 2018 will be as important as ever,” Eric Trump told the Republican group at the West Palm Beach Marriott. “His great work is hugely, hugely impeded if we lose that and I’m going to fight every single day between now and those elections to make sure that those majorities are stronger than ever.”

President Trump had planned to visit Mar-a-Lago on Friday for the 12th time since taking office. But he remained in Washington as congressional Republicans and Democrats failed to reach a spending agreement to keep the government running past midnight.

After Friday’s cancellation, the White House left open the possibility of a Trump trip to Palm Beach on Saturday. The Federal Aviation Administration issued an advisory for an arrival after 2 p.m. Saturday, but rescinded it by mid-afternoon. The latest FAA notification indicated no presidential travel planned to Palm Beach County this weekend.

“No plans to go to Florida while there is a shutdown,” White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said in an email Saturday morning.

Brian Ballard, the Tallahassee lobbyist who was Florida finance chairman for Trump’s 2016 campaign, came to Palm Beach for Saturday’s event and said he understood the president’s choice to remain in Washington.

“I think it was the right decision. I haven’t talked to anyone that’s down here for the event that doesn’t agree,” Ballard said. “We’ll celebrate the one-year anniversary sometime soon.”

Trump supporters, who regularly gather near Southern Boulevard and Flagler Drive to cheer the president’s motorcade as it passes, showed up in Trump’s absence, numbering about 25 at 1 p.m. Saturday.

“It’s the one-year anniversary of President Trump and the mainstream media is ignoring all of his accomplishments. All they want to talk about is the government shutdown over DACA and illegal immigration,” said Lamarre Notargiacomo of Vero Beach, who held an “Eliminate Sanctuary Cities” sign.

Most Senate Democrats voted against a spending bill to keep the government running for four weeks because the legislation did not address the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which shields from deportation about 800,000 young immigrants who were brought to the United States as minors by their parents.

Another group of Trump supporters gathered a few blocks away near the garishly decorated “Trumpmobile” and other vehicles adorned with pro-Trump messages. That group left for Palm Beach to drive by an anti-Trump demonstration that police said drew 600 to 700 protesters.

Staff writer Chelsea Todaro contributed to this story.

Shutdown: Uncertainty plagues civil servants, WPAFB workers, businesses

Published: Saturday, January 20, 2018 @ 9:40 PM

Local businesses feeling pressure from government shutdown

Employees at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base will report to work on Monday for further instructions.

On Main Street in downtown Fairborn Saturday night there were a lot of questions about the partial shutdown, from workers who may be at risk of furlough to businesses those workers visit.

>> Air Force museum closes: Wright-Patt workers face furlough

“It’s definitely uncertainty,” Casey Hudson, a civil servant who works in finances with the Air National Guard in Springfield.

He’s headed to work this week with or without a budget approved by Congress, and possibly without getting paid on time.

“I still have to go to work,” Hudson said. “It’s not fun not getting a paycheck, so I’m just trying to make sure I’m on top of my finances.”

>> Wright Patt: Workers to show up Monday even if shutdown in place

Inside Giovanni’s pizzeria in downtown Fairborn, it was business as usual. But management is keeping an eye on what happens hundreds of miles away, in Washington, wondering how long this shutdown could last.

“If it’s a week we’ll probably lose, probably $5- to $7,000, just from sales, from people not coming,” General Manager Karl Henry said.

WPAFB active duty and civil servants make up 60 to 70 percent of the customers at Giovanni’s, Henry said. When they don’t get paid or are uncertain, they won’t spend money at the restaurant. That’s what happened in 2013 when the government briefly shut down.

“It came to a slow crawl. We’d only get a few couples in, we cut our staff real thin, it got real slow,” Henry said.

>> Government shutdown on anniversary of Trump inauguration

After the 2013 shutdown, workers who stayed on the job unpaid and those furloughed were reimbursed.

But businesses who rely on the base’s staff get no such compensation, and can only hold out for a quick end.

“Hopefully Congress will get together and this will all kind of go away and we’ll get this budget approved,” Henry said.

Got a tip? Call our monitored 24-hour line, 937-259-2237, or send it to newsdesk@cmgohio.com

Teen shot in leg in drug deal outside Walmart in Fairfield Twp.

Published: Saturday, January 20, 2018 @ 4:54 PM
Updated: Saturday, January 20, 2018 @ 6:28 PM



Dan Acton
(Dan Acton)

UPDATE @ 5:55 p.m.:

Police are looking for the suspect who shot a teenager in his leg Saturday after they met up for a drug deal in the Walmart parking lot.

>>Suspect indicted in Coldwater stabbing death

The 17-year-old male was shot around 3 p.m. while he was in the driver’s side of a car in the lot, 3201 Princeton Road. He then accelerated his vehicle and struck other vehicles and a shopping cart corral, Fairfield Twp. police Sgt. Brandon McCroskey said.

The suspect -- described as a male aged 16 to 19 -- fled the scene on foot. Police believe he was picked up by the same vehicle that dropped him off: a red 2007 Toyota Camry with a sunroof reported stolen Friday from Cincinnati with Ohio license plate number 423XVA.

>>Dayton detective fires shots; no injuries in Salem Avenue incident

The gunshot victim was taken to the West Chester Hospital. His injuries are not life threatening, McCroskey said.

The suspect, who stands between 5 feet 6 and 5 feet 7 inches, weighs 135 pounds and has black curly hair and a black goatee. He was last seen wearing a dark jacket and dark sweatpants.

(Dan Acton)

FIRST REPORT:

Police are investigating after a reported shooting outside a Walmart in Fairfield Twp.

>>Autopsy report: Roy Halladay had drugs in system when plane crashed

Fairfield Township Police were called at about 3:15 p.m. Saturday to the Walmart at 3201 Princeton Road.

According to scanner traffic, a person was shot in the leg during the incident.

Initial reports may have been drug-related.

We are working to learn more and will update this page as information becomes available.

Got a tip? Call our monitored 24-hour line, 937-259-2237, or send it to newsdesk@cmgohio.com

Women’s March draws thousands to downtown Dayton

Published: Saturday, January 20, 2018 @ 2:38 PM
Updated: Saturday, January 20, 2018 @ 9:35 PM

rally raw Video

A few thousand women and supporters gathered at Courthouse Square Saturday on the near one-year anniversary of the marches that took place the day after President Donald Trump’s inauguration.

The event was organized by Dayton Women’s Rights Alliance, along with Dayton Indivisible for All and others.

The rally is designed to engage and empower all people to support women’s rights, human rights, civil rights, disability rights, and many others seeking equality, according to the event’s Facebook page.

RELATED: Thousands rallied in 2017 March

This year’s event occurs in the midst of the #MeToo movement and the same week as the sentencing for former U.S. Gymnastics team Dr. Larry Nassar, who is accused of sexually molesting dozens of young girls under his care.

Sarah Powell of Fairborn said she came out for the event out of concern for her children’s future.

“I’m concerned that we’re taking things in a direction in our country that’s going to make it very hard my daughter and also my son to find equal footing. And really achieve what it is they want to achieve,” the 40-year-old mother said.

Powell also said she was concerned about the Trump administration’s reversal of business regulations that are designed “protect us” and passing issues “to keep rich people getting richer and to keep the little guy down. It affects women and minorities a lot more than my son … but being from a poorer background it does affect us, too.”

People also were at the march to support immigrants.

Edda and Reinhard Koppen immigrated legally from Germany in 1990, but they don’t see why illegal immigration is getting so much “hype.”

“We went through the process,” said Edda, a 53-year-old Springboro resident. “And we do absolutely believe people should have a way to become a legal immigrant on this country.

“Right now there’s no reason for this hype of getting all of the immigrants out because we are very much at a pretty low unemployment rate and if these people would all leave I think it would not necessarily be good for the country,” she added.

While crowd estimates were unavailable Saturday afternoon, the event seemed to draw a similar number of people as last year’s event, which attracted about 3,000.

The Dayton march was one of many around the U.S. and the world on Saturday.

Trump tweeted Saturday afternoon that it was a “perfect day” for women to march to celebrate the “economic success and wealth creation” that’s happened during his first year in office — while women across the nation rallied against him and his policies.

“Get out there now to celebrate the historic milestones and unprecedented economic success and wealth creation that has taken place over the last 12 months,” Trump wrote. “Lowest female unemployment in 18 years!”

But demonstrators denounced Trump’s views with colorful signs and even saltier language.

The Associated Press contributed to this story