COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) – Ohio lawmakers are considering a bill that would decrease the amount of heroin found in a person’s possession that triggers maximum punishment under state law.
The proposal lowers the amount from 250 grams to 100 grams, which includes a maximum prison sentence of up to 11 years if convicted and having the defendant classified as a major drug offender.
Supporters say the bill is needed to address the state’s growing heroin epidemic.
The Ohio House approved the measure last year. The Senate Criminal Justice Committee scheduled a hearing Wednesday.
The most recent state data say a record 1,177 people died of heroin-related overdoses in 2014.
The State Public Defender’s Office, which opposes the bill, said lawmakers should focus instead on improving treatment and addiction services.