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Expert Commentaries on Issue 1
The Drug Enforcement and Policy Center (DEPC) is committed to enhancing understanding and debate over the multiple provisions and potential impacts of Issue 1. In addition to our panel series and resource page, DEPC has solicited short commentaries from a wide array of researchers, policymakers, and advocates concerning both the substantive particulars of Issue 1 and the effort to advance criminal justice reform through a ballot initiative.
Commentaries will be published below as received, and DEPC welcomes submissions for this on-line forum from anyone eager to share thoughtful or critical perspectives on any substantive aspects of Issue 1 or on any broader issues related to using direct democracy to pursue significant legal and policy reform. We prefer submissions of no more than 2000 words, with on-line links to any references rather than footnotes. Submissions should be sent to email@example.com.
Issue 1: A Policy to Address Ohio’s Drug Epidemics, Present and Past
Daniel Skinner, Ph.D., and Berkeley Franz, Ph.D., Assistant Professors in the Department of Social Medicine at Ohio University, Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine
When we first began editorial work on Not Far from Me: Stories of Opioids and Ohio, it quickly became clear that our book would be about much more than addiction. The point of the collection is simple: to provide a forum for Ohioans across the state, from various walks of life, to tell their stories. Yet, though the idea was straightforward, the process of compiling it opened us to the complexities of our contributors’ lives. Addiction is not only a medical condition, but reflects and is intensified by difficult social problems. Our contributors’ perspectives range from reflections on the greed and opportunism of pharmaceutical companies to the experience of consulting with health care professionals whose pain management strategies inadvertently led to years of addiction after surgeries, sports injuries, and wisdom teeth extraction. They tell us of the challenges of being teachers, nurses, mayors, and parents in communities where addiction has become widespread.
Issue 1: Addressing Past Injustices and Harms to Communities of Color
Dr. Marcus Board Jr., Ph.D., Assistant Professor of African American Studies at Georgetown University
Whether it passes or fails, Ohio Issue 1 will have a heavy impact on Ohioans in general and Black Ohioans specifically. As a political scientist studying political behavior, public opinion, and histories of oppression, the war on drugs – at both the federal level and in the state of Ohio – is among the more obvious ways that the state reinforces racial and gender forms of domination. The issue of mass incarceration is no longer considered a conspiracy theory or speculative hyperbole. All evidence points to the use of the criminal justice system – from policing, to probation, to bail, to courts, to lawyers, to prisons – as a means to create jobs. Moreover, targeting of communities of color means these communities won’t have access to these jobs. Furthermore, targeting more vulnerable community members means they won’t have access to jobs, and won’t have the means to defend themselves against this form of domination.