COLUMBUS—State Senator Theresa Gavarone (R-Bowling Green) today announced the Senate's passage of Senate Bill 55, also known as the ‘Relapse Reduction Act’. The legislation will enhance penalties for drug traffickers who sell on the premises or near addiction recovery service providers.
Senate Bill 55 is modeled after current law that increases penalties for certain drug offenses that occur near schools and juveniles.
"My hope, through this legislation, is to increase the rate of success for Ohioans who are working hard to recover from drug addiction," said Gavarone. "I believe this will happen, in part, by keeping dealers from preying on rehab centers. I am grateful my Senate colleagues have joined me in passing this important bill today."
The bill was introduced last General Assembly as the result of a conversation between Senator Gavarone and Paul Dobson, Wood County Prosecutor, whose stepson, while in an addiction recovery center, shared how easy it would be for him to leave the facility, walk a block in any direction and find someone willing to provide him heroin. After months in recovery housing and outpatient treatment, Michael did not survive his addiction.
"It has been my and my family’s hope that lessons learned from Michael’s life and death would result in better assistance for those seeking freedom from the entanglement of drug addiction," said Dobson, who testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee. "In addition to the positive efforts that are being made around the state, I believe Senate Bill 55 offers that assistance in the form of a protective barrier around recovery housing."
The legislation passed the House with a favorable 93 to 1 vote and was voted out of the Senate Judiciary Committee late in the 132nd General Assembly.
Senate Bill 55 will now be sent to the House for further consideration.