Ohio Bill Lowers Amount of Heroin Needed for Maximum Penalty

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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.