Ohio Bill Lowers Amount of Heroin Needed for Maximum Penalty

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COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) – The Ohio House is considering a bill that would decrease the amount of heroin a person can possess that would trigger the maximum punishment under state law.

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, approved by the Ohio House Wednesday, is needed to address the state’s growing heroin epidemic.

The most recent state data say a record 983 people died of heroin-related overdoses in 2013.

The State Public Defender’s Office, which opposed the bill, said lawmakers should focus instead on improving treatment and addiction services.