Former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich's backing of an Ohio ballot proposal to make most drug possession charges misdemeanors places the Republican stalwart at odds with many in his party.
An October 7 column Gingrich co-authored with civil rights activist Van Jones argues Issue 1 provides Ohio a way to change course in fighting the opioid crisis. Co-leaders of the nonpartisan Advocates for Opioid Recovery, Gingrich and Jones say Ohio wastes taxpayer dollars locking up people suffering from addiction. Issue 1 opponents argue the measure could have unintended consequences, would tie judges' hands at sentencing and would be difficult to fix if embedded into the constitution. The measure requires money saved from reductions in the prison population be used for drug treatment and crime victim programs.