Two new ads for the midterm races hit airwaves Wednesday, both dealing with facets of the opioid epidemic.
The attack ad from Attorney General Mike DeWine, the Republican running for governor, targets his Democratic opponent Richard Cordray for his support of Issue 1, the ballot initiative that asks voters to amend Ohio’s constitution so non-violent drug offenders would be spared prison time.
Issue 1 is shaping to be a divisive topic in the governor’s race, with candidates taking opposing sides as the Nov. 6 election nears.
“Cordray’s plan would allow drug dealers to remain on our streets,” the ad’s narrator says. “Even when they are caught with enough fentanyl to kill 10,000 people. The same drug that is killing Ohioans every day.”
The narration refers to the amendment’s cutoff for low-level possession of fentanyl, which even in small amounts is deadly. The amendment’s proponents said traffickers would see no relief in sentencing and any savings realized from not sending addicts to prison would be redirected to treatment. Opponents argue it takes power away from drug courts and doesn’t provide an incentive for offenders to seek treatment.
“Eight years of Mike DeWine’s failure have given us a tripling of opioid-related deaths and rising drug crime. The time for him to step up and solve this problem has long passed. Now, he wants to play politics with the opioid epidemic as it is destroying families and communities across Ohio,” Mr. Cordray said in a statement.
"As governor, I will work with law enforcement to make sure drug dealers are convicted and serve long prison sentences while people who need substance abuse treatment can get it in our communities.”
Meanwhile, Friends of U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown released an ad shining a light on babies born addicted to opioids. It features Allison Kelly, a neonatal nurse in Columbus, and says that more than 21,000 babies are born each year addicted to drugs.
“There are times when up to a third of the beds where I work are used for infants born dependent on opioids. Another one is born in American every 25 minutes and they need a champion more than anyone. That’s Sherrod Brown,” she says.
The campaign of Mr. Brown’s opponent, Republican Jim Renacci, said in a statement Mr. Renacci has created a committee to hear from people impacted by the opioid epidemic.
“[Sherrod Brown’s] new ad is a weak attempt to gain political points on a very serious issue affecting Ohioans," spokesman Brittany Martinez said.
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