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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Scattered showers return, wet roads expected for morning commute

Published: Tuesday, April 24, 2018 @ 3:36 AM

Meteorologist Kirstie Zontini talks about when the rain ends and when your yard work can begin!

>> Live Doppler 7 Interactive Radar

QUICK-LOOK FORECAST

  • Scattered showers today
  • Wet roads for the morning commute
  • Near normal temps this week

>> 5-Day Forecast

DETAILED FORECAST

TODAY: Scattered showers push back in this morning with wet roads for the morning commute, however, no major problems are expected. Breezy and mostly cloudy for the day as temperatures reach into the upper 50s, which is cooler than normal. Showers become more isolated by late afternoon and a passing shower or two are possible overnight. 

WEDNESDAY: A shower or two will come down before dawn. It’ll be dry for the day with temperatures reaching back near 60 degrees. Clouds break through the afternoon for some sunshine. 

>>County-by-County Weather

THURSDAY: A nice, dry day from start to finish with highs in the low 60s. Expect sunshine and a few clouds as well.

FRIDAY: It’ll be dry, early with sunshine with highs peaking in the middle 60s. Clouds increase late in the day with a possible evening rain shower, but it will not be widespread.

SATURDAY: A pleasant, dry start of the weekend with afternoon sunshine and highs in the low 60s. 

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George H.W. Bush hospitalized with blood infection after death of Barbara Bush

Published: Monday, April 23, 2018 @ 7:31 PM

Biography of George H.W. Bush

Former President George H.W. Bush has been hospitalized in Houston with an infection, after attending the funeral of his wife Barbara.

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Please check back on this developing story.

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Southwest Airlines cancels dozens of flights amid inspections after deadly engine failure

Published: Tuesday, April 24, 2018 @ 5:50 AM

Engine Damage Forces Southwest Plane to Make Emergency Landing

Southwest Airlines said it canceled about 40 flights Sunday as it inspects engine fan blades in the wake of an engine failure last week that led to one passenger’s death.

>> Memorial service held for woman killed during Southwest Airlines flight

That’s about 1 percent of Dallas-based Southwest’s daily schedule of nearly 4,000 flights. The airline encouraged passengers to check their flight status. “We anticipate minimal delays or cancellations each day due to the inspections,” Southwest said in a written statement.

Atlanta-based Delta Air Lines has the same type of engines on the Boeing 737s in its fleet and is also adding ultrasonic inspections of the engines, but said it doesn’t expect any operational impact to customers.

>> Who was Jennifer Riordan, the passenger killed on a Southwest Airlines flight?

Both airlines last week, in advance of the Federal Aviation Administration’s official release of an emergency airworthiness directive, said they would accelerate the inspections.

The FAA on Friday issued the anticipated directive requiring airlines to inspect fan blades on certain engines within 20 days. The directive draws from information gathered in the investigation of Southwest’s engine failure last Tuesday. The FAA said the inspection requirement is estimated to affect 352 engines in the United States and 681 engines worldwide.

>> Passenger killed in Southwest Airlines emergency landing identified

The CFM56-7B engine that blew on the Southwest flight showed evidence of “metal fatigue,” according to the National Transportation Safety Board. That engine model is on all of Southwest’s 737-700s and 737-800s, which make up the vast majority of Southwest’s fleet.

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Delta has a fleet of about 185 Boeing 737s with the engines, out of a fleet of more than 800 planes of various types.

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Waffle House shooting: How police captured Travis Reinking

Published: Tuesday, April 24, 2018 @ 3:17 AM

Waffle House Shooting: Who is Travis Reinking

Travis Reinking, the man suspected of killing four people during a shooting at a Waffle House outside Nashville, Tennessee, has been arrested.

>> Watch the news report here

>> On Fox13Memphis.com: Waffle House shooting victims identified

Reinking had been at the center of a statewide manhunt for 32 hours until he was caught Monday in the woods near his apartment. 

Nashville police confirmed the 29-year-old was taken into custody Monday afternoon. They tweeted these photos of him in the back of a cop car.

>> See the photos here

In a news conference, police said they received a call about a man matching Reinking's description going into a wooded area. When officers arrived, nearby workers pointed them in the direction where the man was seen walking.

>> Waffle House shooting: Man accused of killing 4 in Tennessee arrested

Officers entered the wooded area and walked along pathways.

One of the detectives came across a man. When that man turned around, the detective realized it was Reinking.

Police said the detective drew his gun and ordered Reinking to get on the ground. Other officers quickly surrounded the suspect and he was taken into custody.

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The 29-year-old Reinking looked tired but had clothes, a backpack and identification when Nashville police caught him, authorities said. He surrendered without confrontation, police said.

“When they looked into the backpack they say a semi-automatic weapon with 45 caliber ammunition,” said Lt. Carlos Lara of the Nashville Police Department.

Reinking reportedly slipped through a law enforcement drag net of nearly 200 police, deputies and federal agents. He was able to walk back to his apartment to get clothes and other items, police said.

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The reason why he allegedly opened fire at this Nashville area Waffle House is still under investigation

Reinking was wearing a backpack, which was cut off once he was handcuffed, authorities said. Inside, police said they found a Kimber semi-automatic handgun with .45 caliber ammunition.

A wallet was also inside the backpack, and police used the ID to confirm the man was Reinking, officers said.

“He immediately asked for a lawyer and refused to make a statement,” said Nashville police spokesman Don Aaron.

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For people who work and live near the mass shooting, the capture brought relief. 

Now begins the healing for a community caught in terror, the victims and their families. 

Acting Nashville Mayor David Briley said: “We need to move on as community and do what we can to curb this violence in the future.”

Reinking was taken to a hospital to be examined. From there, he will be taken to the Nashville jail to be booked on four murder charges, according to police.

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