Gov. Mike DeWine has said repeatedly that mental health and drug addiction are two areas he’ll focus on in his first budget. The group that he appointed to study the needs in those areas has delivered him a report, just hours before that budget comes out.
The RecoveryOhio Advisory Council’s report includes 75 recommendations, such as a campaign to reduce stigma around mental illness, drug abuse prevention coordination, and the expansion of crisis services, especially for kids. Terry Russell with the National Alliance on Mental Illness Ohio says these initiatives may cost a lot upfront, but they’ll pay off.
“These proposals will save millions and millions of taxpayers’ dollars that are being currently spent on law enforcement, emergency rooms, and allow the people being served to be productive citizens who bring in taxes.”
DeWine said many of the recommendations will be reflected in his budget. He said Ohio is in a public health crisis – losing 13 people a day to drug overdoses, and five Ohioans daily to suicide.