News
News Home
Quick Bites
Exploradio
News Archive
News Channel
Special Features
NPR
nowplaying
On AirNewsClassical
Loading...
  
School Closings
WKSU Support
Funding for WKSU is made possible in part through support from the following businesses and organizations.

Area Agency on Aging 10B, Inc.

NOCHE

Wayside Furniture


For more information on how your company or organization can support WKSU, download the WKSU Media Kit.

(WKSU Media Kit PDF icon )


Donate Your Vehicle to WKSU

Programs Schedule Make A Pledge Member BenefitsFAQ/HelpContact Us
Health and Medicine


Advocates warn Ohio pols: Don't play politics with mental health
Changes in funding raise concerns even while the governor won praise
by WKSU's STATEHOUSE BUREAU CHIEF KAREN KASLER


Reporter
Karen Kasler
 
Ohio Gov. John Kasich has lauded the state's commitment to mental health and addiction services. But some shifts in funding have advocates concerned.
Download (WKSU Only)
In The Region:

Programs that help people break addictions to drugs are often promoted by politicians. But sometimes those publicly funded programs are also cut by elected officials. As Statehouse correspondent Karen Kasler reports, that’s brought a warning from advocates for those programs to candidates on the ballot this year.

LISTEN: Concern about cuts

Other options:
Windows Media / MP3 Download (3:21)


The state says it will send out a $63 million federal block grant for local drug addiction programs over 18 months instead of 12. The Department of Mental Health and Drug Addiction Services says spreading the money out over a longer period of time will bring some stability to cash-strapped agencies waiting for federal money that’s been approved to arrive.

But it will also create a $20 million temporary shortfall. Democrats looking for traction in this election year have seized on this, saying it’s a disaster during a statewide heroin crisis. 

Shared concern for mental health, but ...
“It’s the wrong direction,” says  David Pepper , who’s running for attorney general “We should be going in a different direction. And I don’t want to over-dramatize it, but I honestly believe that we will see more people addicted in the end, more lives ruined because of this decision if it’s not averted.”

Local advocates for mental health and drug addiction programs are concerned about the change and the gap that will result, though many have praised Republican Gov. John Kasich for his interest and financial commitment to those causes. And he’s also praised himself and state lawmakers – as he did in his State of the State speech in February. 

“We should be proud that we’re making a difference here, because it’s so easy in politics to run over them, because they don’t organize and many don’t vote. Many do, but some can’t. So we should be proud that we have been standing up for them.”

A key difference
But the advocates who’ve lauded Kasich and state lawmakers for supporting drug addiction and mental health services are now cautioning them to be careful with the issue during their campaigns. Jon Allison, a former top aide to Republican Gov. Bob Taft, represents the Drug Free Action Alliance. He sent out a letter signed by the heads of groups representing the mentally ill and low-income people, as well as doctors and drug addiction and mental health services. The letters went to the candidates for the five statewide executive offices and for the General Assembly. 

“I think there’s a difference between talking about policy options and trying to build consensus and taking pot shots, which can happen – and candidates from both parties have done this in the past.”

But Allison falters a bit when asked whether politicians running for office should avoid not only pointing fingers – but also taking credit. 
“I think when there’s good news, when there are good news stories, we ought to be telling those stories because I think those inspire hope and encourage people to come together and find bipartisan solutions, and I think that will continue to happen.”

And Democratic candidate for Governor Ed FitzGerald says the conversation about helping people with drug addictions and mental health concerns can’t stop now. 
“We can’t go in any county and not be asked about this question. What are we supposed to say – ‘no comment’? And what are we supposed to do when agencies from counties both that we live in that we are seeking to represent are saying, ‘These cuts are going to be devastating’?”

Statewide advocacy groups say they support the long-term budgeting change, though local agencies say the $20 million shortfall will create hardships. And the state says the Medicaid expansion that Kasich pushed through last year – over the objections of many Republican state lawmakers – will help with the gap.

 

Add Your Comment
Name:

Location:

E-mail: (not published, only used to contact you about your comment)


Comments:




 
Page Options

Print this page

E-Mail this page / Send mp3

Share on Facebook




Stories with Recent Comments

Will Ohio's marijuana initiative follow casinos' lead?
We just ask to have marijuana legalized and here comes some nimrod trying to rob us of our rights and make us buy it from some legalized new type DRUG DEALER th...

Fancy dinners from humble beginnings at The Blue Door
Grandma of Chris Miller moved to Florida in a retirement community but I sure miss the Falls and the Blue Door, and the fine service and the true friendship of ...

The Black Keys guitar tech's moment in the spotlight
Nice job, Vivian. It's always nice to hear about the unsung heroes getting their due! Thank you, Chuck Johnston (Full disclosure - I'm a friend of the Carney fa...

A guide for gift-shopping for older Ohians
I'll never be to old for peanut brittle.

Akron's Tuba Christmas: A resounding blast of holiday spirit
Nice piece, Vivian! Looking forward to hearing you move from flute to tuba on Saturday. Love hearing your interviews and this seemed extra special since I kno...

Cleveland Hugo Boss workers are fighting for their jobs again
Bro. Ginard; I support your effert to keep your jobs, I understand all about concesions, I was a Union offical from 1965 until 1991 and the company th...

Asian Carp control could benefit from bill passed by House, heading to the Senate
help me fight the battle against invasive carp by method of harvest

Ohio's Portman supports lifting limits on party political money
If Portman was legitimately concerned about outside groups influence on elections he would have supported the DISCLOSE act. Instead he helped block it being bro...

Study shows trade with China has cost more than 3 million U.S. jobs
I disagree with James Dorn! If we don't change the playing field and make it a fair competition the whole US industry will be weaker and weaker. Eventually all ...

Copyright © 2014 WKSU Public Radio, All Rights Reserved.

 
In Partnership With:

NPR PRI Kent State University

listen in windows media format listen in realplayer format Car Talk Hosts: Tom & Ray Magliozzi Fresh Air Host: Terry Gross A Service of Kent State University 89.7 WKSU | NPR.Classical.Other smart stuff. NPR Senior Correspondent: Noah Adams Living on Earth Host: Steve Curwood 89.7 WKSU | NPR.Classical.Other smart stuff. A Service of Kent State University