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Local Counselor Explains The Good and Bad of Issue 1


CIRCLEVILLE – Brenton Beckley is a local counselor and a Licensed Professional Counselor that graduated from Lynchburg, Virginia.  Beckley described in his facebook post why he is on the fence about issue 1 and is still yet undecided on his vote.  Here is his post used by permission.

This video was supplied with the information, its a interesting perspective on addiction.


I’ve had a few people ask me about issue 1 and, quite frankly, it’s impossible to explain on Facebook or all places; however, please consider a few things as you head to the polls:

1. The bill targets addicts and their addictions, trying to make it easier to get the actually help they need (no…prison does not “rehabilitate” addicts as most employees barely look at them as a person deserving of love and compassion…services in prisons have nowhere near the resources and support systems for addicts that their local communities have to offer).

2. Repeat offenders (3 arrests in a 2 year span) still face prison time; the bill does not give drug dealers an easy out as their offenses are different and charges would be unchanged in the bill passes…I’ve witnessed A LOT of extremely misleading information on this one and for those who know me I work around this everyday.

3. The bill reallocates funds saved from incarceration to reestablish healthy connections (relationships, job training, education, etc.) for addicts…again, addicts, not drug distributors/deals.
4. The current system gives an addict a felony conviction and extremely limits their employability in our society…cutting them off from one of the biggest steps in recovery that we, as professionals, know an addicts needs for many reasons I could explain better in person.

5. People who think that incarceration will help an addict “get clean” have great intentions for their loved ones but it honestly doesn’t work that way (unfortunately); we lock addicts in a prison with other criminals and other addicts, cutting them off from any potential, healthy relationships. Yes, family can visit for a couple hours a week, but that’s minimal and detrimental to an addict.

6. Is Issue 1 so awesome I can’t wait to vote for it? No…it has unanswered questions on how it would implement the plan if it passes. That being said, the context of issue 1 is significantly better than our current system and is more in line with Portugal’s system.

7. Vote your conscience and know that people like me (a counselor) will still be reporting to work tomorrow to help these types of people. Hug your loved ones, tell them how much they mean to you and what you appreciate about them. Start there, because if you can’t show the type of love that would walk through hell with someone, maybe this issue should be skipped for you…which is fine if you are unsure!

8. Check this link out of a Ted talk I’d show all my classes to start meaningful discussions and then don’t be afraid to ask questions..

Beckley has answered a few challenges to his statement on social media, one where if issue 1 passes it would become a constitutional amendment.  This is one of Beckley’s strongest sticking points on voting for this legislature.