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Sunday, October 16, 2005

New Rehab Law Faces Challenges

CLEVELAND, OH- The ACLU of Ohio filed a lawsuit Friday challenging the recently passed Ohio law HR 666, better known as the Rehabilitation Incentive Benefits Act. The act was added as an amendment to Ohio’s latest spending bill which exempts all Ohioans earning more than $1 million a year from paying state income taxes as long as the income was earned from stock dividends. The bill passed unanimously in the Ohio House and was signed by the governor Wednesday.

The Rehabilitation Incentive Benefits Act (RIBA) has drawn strong criticism from social justice advocates who object to this radical new approach to solving Ohio’s chemical dependency crisis. According to Anthony Gellar, spokesperson for the ACLU, “This law is a mockery of the very word “rehabilitation.” In effect, the law will take advantage of those who are most in need of help and work them to death while forcing them to remain chemically dependent on a lethal drug.”

RIBA mandates that all convicted drug offenders in Ohio must undergo court-ordered rehabilitation administered by the Department of Corrections. All offenders are to be rehabilitated through the use of “replacement incentives.” In much the same way that methadon clinics treat heroin withdrawal by distributing methadon to addicts, RIBA mandates than any Ohioan convicted of a drug-related offense must be given crystal meth as his or her treatment. Inmates are to then be contracted out by the prison system and must work a minimum of thirty-two hours a week, for which they will be paid $0.32 an hour, though earning at least $8.50 an hour. The rest of the money goes toward the operating budget for the state’s prisons, and 10% of that amount will pay for the administering of the RIBA program.

“Crystal meth makes addicts much more productive than drugs such as marijuana or even cocaine,” said Officer Jake Warren of the Department of Corrections. “Meth addicts also have a much shorter life span than most other addicts. For years we were fighting the War on Drugs by trying to bust dealers and curb demand. The brilliance of this new law is that we’re using the drugs themselves as a weapon. Not only will these criminals be much more productive and benefit the state economically, but they will save us money by dying faster and thereby draining fewer resources that we can dedicate to other enforcement areas.”

Cleveland Law Director Rick Worebath added, “This will also help solve our panhandling problem in downtown Cleveland. Anyone arrested for violations of our Aggressive Solicitation Law will be given a drug assessment, and if we find they test positive for drugs or alcohol, we will enroll them in a RIBA program. We will also rehabilitate repeat offenders of the Aggressive Solicitation law regardless of whether or not they are chemically dependent. This means that our citizens may soon be able to shop and be entertained downtown without having to be reminded that poverty exists.”

According to Gellar, “It’s unconstitutional at best, and horrifyingly fascist. This law sets up a ridiculous double standard. We have Federal agents arresting cancer patients in other states who are given medical marijuana, but the Bush administration is curiously silent about this initiative. Where are the DEA agents storming prisons and rehab clinics?”
Sources inside the DEA say that while the administering of crystal meth is illegal, they have their hands full in areas such as California where they are fighting marijuana trafficking. A high level officer who wished to remain anonymous said, “Look, it’s obvious that certain drugs are more harmful to society than others. Marijuana leads to harder drugs and a freethinking hippie lifestyle. Crystal meth leads to houses and prisons getting built faster and less taxpayer money spent on coddling criminals. If we get a call to bust one of these places, I might just let it go to voicemail.”

There is currently a similar bill in the U.S. Senate, though it is being held up in committee. According to AP wire reports, committee members are split over an amendment added to the bill which would grant a five year no-bid contract to Eli Lilly to manufacture the crystal meth. Fiscal conservatives on the committee want to reduce the contract to a two-year term to reduce the up-front cost of the law.

This article is intended to be humorous. Any similarity between this and actual persons is because I am making fun of them.


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