FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Saturday, October 27, 2018
STEVE DETTELBACH HEADS TO APPALACHIA
Unveils New Plan to Protect Rural Ohio
STATEWIDE — Today, just before embarking on a tour across communities in Southeast Ohio, Democratic nominee for Attorney General Steve Dettelbach released a new policy plan designed to address some of the specific needs and priorities of rural Ohioans. With just 10 days to Election Day, Steve is hitting the road to gather diverse perspectives of Ohioans far and wide to bring with him to the Attorney General office.
Throughout the course of the day, Dettelbach, together with former Governor Ted Strickland, will make stops in Belmont County, Washington County, and Athens County to hear from voters and discuss his new plan and other topics of importance.
The specific proposals that constitute the plan follow, and can be accessed HERE.
DETTELBACH PLAN TO PROTECT RURAL OHIO
Provide free and enhanced legal assistance to rural and small town Ohio
The culture of corruption in Columbus has led to politicians overlooking the day-to-day legal needs of rural and small town Ohio. And massive cuts to the local government fund have made it worse. The Ohio AG can and should help and have their backs.
While the AG’s office now provides criminal legal assistance to County Prosecutors, other more common and pressing legal needs facing local communities are totally overlooked. Rural communities need access to legal services ranging from real estate deals to help save town squares to more complicated transactions to attract new businesses to counseling regarding personnel matters. Those lawyers can be expensive. The Ohio Attorney General should try to have the backs of rural and small town Ohio and provide free legal assistance for such projects upon request.
The AG’s office can establish an office function staffed with attorneys that have such experience. Then these attorneys should be made available to mayors, councils, and other elected officials to provide free legal counseling services on a voluntary basis.
Comprehensive opioid crisis plan
Ohio’s broken political system has failed ordinary Ohioans, and nowhere is that more apparent than in the opioid crisis ravaging our communities. The failure of politicians to address this crisis has been made worse by a criminal justice system that does not provide adequate treatment to non-violent people suffering from addiction. The State of Ohio currently has the second-highest rate of opioid-related deaths in the country, and there have been periods that Ohio has been first. Nearly 5,000 Ohioans died of drug overdose deaths in 2017. For too long, politicians have failed everyday Ohioans in their most basic duty—keeping every single person safe.
Please read Dettelbach’s comprehensive plan to fight the opioid crisis here — A Prosecutor’s Plan to Protect Ohio: Fighting the Opioid Crisis and Improving Our Criminal Justice System.
One example of a specific proposal focuses on access to drug courts:
Make Specialized Drug Courts Available in Every Single Ohio County
Steve understands that many of the people pulled into the legal system by addiction don’t need handcuffs; they need a hand. Specialized drug courts are a way to offer it. These courts handle cases involving low-level, non-violent drug offenders. They have been shown to reduce crime and help people get their lives back on track. But once again, Ohio’s current leadership has ignored vast parts of the state and failed to bring best practices everywhere they are needed. As of August, there were still 30 Ohio counties without drug courts, accounting for more than 1.3 million Ohioans. Three of the top six counties in overdose death rate still don’t have a drug court. As Attorney General, Steve will work with local communities and the Ohio Supreme Court to make access to a drug court available in every Ohio county so that people who fall into the legal system as a result of opioids have a fighting chance to pull themselves out.
But Steve won’t stop at just drug courts. To make sure that individuals and families who have suffered as a result of Ohio’s drug crisis have access to the necessary prevention, treatment, and recovery supports, Steve will also work with local Alcohol, Drug Addiction, and Mental Health (ADAMH) Boards and their county hubs.
Support expanding access to high-speed broadband internet in rural communities
For Ohio to remain economically competitive, ensuring access to high-speed broadband internet throughout the state is critical. Unfortunately, some 300,000 households in rural communities across Ohio still lack access to broadband internet. That has to change. As Attorney General, Steve will support efforts to get families and small businesses in all corners of Ohio access to high-speed broadband—efforts like the bipartisan HB 378, which passed the House 88-11 and is currently stuck in Committee in the Senate.
Find creative solutions to bring down rural suicide rates
Suicide rates are far higher in rural communities than in other communities. Youth suicide rates in particular are nearly twice as high in rural areas. Sparse access to mental health and substance abuse treatment—especially with the ongoing opioid crisis—contribute to the problem. And there is an urgent need to fix it. We must improve access to both mental health and substance abuse treatment in rural Ohio. We have to explore options like telemedicine, and expand awareness and intervention efforts in schools. As Attorney General, Steve will stand at the forefront of the effort to bring down the high suicide rates in rural Ohio.