Home » Opinion » Letters to Editor » Letter to the Editor: I support Issue 1

Letter to the Editor: I support Issue 1

When people overdose, we see them as victims. When they are arrested in Ohio with low-level, non-violent drug possession, we see them as criminals.  We can do better.

As a primary care physician, I support Issue 1 because it halts the cycle of trauma and incarceration that often leads to drug use in the first place while also providing greater access to rehabilitation.

My patients who have chronic diseases such as diabetes and depression have better results when we address all the factors that impact their health.

If we know this approach works for chronic diseases, why don’t we treat the chronic disease of addiction with the same comprehensive approach? Instead, Ohio criminalizes and stigmatizes this chronic health condition – treating a public health issue with criminal justice interventions.    

The right path is to provide comprehensive, community-based medical care to people living with substance abuse that integrates rehabilitation, preventative care and chronic disease management, including addressing the high prevalence of complex psychiatric issues this population faces.

Burdening the prison health system with people who should be effectively treated in the community is not the answer. Let’s treat these people with dignity and compassion, not incarcerate them.  

That’s why I support Issue 1.

One comment

  1. Frederick D Rasmussen

    We have thousands of people dying from overdosing and it is not because they have a greater access to rehabilitation. The better likelihood to receive rehabiliation may well be during incarceration for their crimes.
    I see these “low-level (not low-level dying), non-violent (not the drug pushers that the drug user enables), drug” overdosing perpetrators as victimizing the rest of us.
    You mention that they may have already been of the mind-set to begin the “cycle of trauma and incarceration’ prior to the drug taking victimizing of themselves and, I think, others. These ‘victims” have more issues than just drugs so why should they be relesased to perpetrate their other vices. Would not their lives be more secured from themselves if they were guided and nurtured by caring people while they can be watched. You seem to expect these “victims” will be volunteering for their rehabilitation when not incarcerated. They have already shown they are not good decision-makers.
    Several times I have read articles about ‘in spite off crime levels being reduced, the population of our prisons are increasing’ and this logic in your article reminded me of that. The cart before the horse… The crime is reducing ‘because’ of the increasing prison population! The backward logic precipitated the turnabout of reason.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.