Ohio bill lowers amount of heroin needed for maximum penalty

The proposal decreases the amount from 250 grams to 100 grams

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) – The amount of heroin found in a person’s possession that would trigger maximum punishment under state law would be decreased under a bill in the Ohio Legislature.

The proposal decreases 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. It’s got a hearing in the Senate Criminal Justice Committee 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.

(Copyright 2016 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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