DeWine names drug abuse, mental health advisory committee

Staff Report

Vivien McClain Photography

Vivien McClain Photography

On Friday, Gov. Mike DeWine announced the creation of a new council that will advise the Ohio Governor’s Office on matters concerning mental illness and substance use prevention, treatment, and recovery support services in Ohio.

DeWine signed an executive order creating the Recovery Ohio Advisory Council.

“As I travel the state, I constantly hear from struggling families who say Ohio’s system for treating those with mental health and substance use disorders needs repair,” DeWine said. “I’m calling upon the members of this council to advise my administration on strategies to mend this fractured system. With improvements, I truly believe that Ohio can better assist those who are struggling to recover and help them lead high-quality, productive lives.”

RecoveryOhio Director Alisha Nelson will chair the council, which includes what was described in a governor’s office press release as a diverse group of individuals who have worked to address mental illness or substance use issues in prevention, treatment, advocacy, or support services; government; private industry; law enforcement; healthcare; learning institutions; and faith organizations.

The council also includes individuals who are living with mental illness and/or a substance use disorder and their families.

Members of the RecoveryOhio Advisory Council include:

• Ted Strickland, Former Governor of Ohio

• Justice Evelyn Lundberg Stratton, Retired, Project Director, The Stepping Up Initiative

• John Tharp, Lucas County Sheriff

• Pastor Greg Delaney, Outreach Coordinator, Woodhaven

• Suzanne Dulaney, Executive Director, County Commissioners Association of Ohio

• Joan England, Executive Director, The Mental Health & Addiction Advocacy Coalition

• Orman Hall, High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area / Ohio University

• Dr. Navdeep Kang, Director of Operations for Behavioral Health Services, Mercy Health

• Teresa Lampl, Associate Director, Ohio Council of Behavioral Health & Family Service Providers

• Jessica Nickel, Founder, Addiction Policy Forum

• Terry Russell, Executive Director, National Alliance on Mental Illness Ohio

• Dr. Shawn Ryan, Chair of Payer Relations, Ohio Society of Addiction Medicine

• Brenda Stewart, Founder, The Addict’s Parent United

• Sarah Thompson, Executive Director, Ohio Citizen Advocates for Addiction Recovery

• Cheri L. Walter, CEO, Ohio Association of County Behavioral Health Authorities

• Juliet Doris Williams, Executive Director, The P.E.E.R. Center

Additional members will be announced at a later date.

RecoveryOhio Advisory Council members will be tasked with issuing actionable recommendations to DeWine and each cabinet-level state agency, board and commission providing services to individuals with mental illness or substance use disorders.

DeWine has directed the council to issue recommendations on several of what his office considers pressing issues including, but not limited to:

•Providing high quality prevention and early intervention programming in communities and schools;

•Improving access to treatment services in Ohio for mental health and substance use disorders;

•Developing support strategies on issues such as peer support, employment, and housing as foundations for wellness;

•Improving the quality of care for mental health and substance use disorders in the community and in healthcare and criminal justice settings;

•Creating efficiencies across systems;

•Serving more under-served populations including youth, older adults, and veterans;

•Measuring critical outcomes to gauge improvements in Ohio’s system of mental health and addiction services;

•Coordinating federal, state, and local resources to ensure optimal use.

The advisory council also will make recommendations on fiscal appropriations in the state budget.

DeWine asked the council to issue their recommendations no later than March 8. The council will meet no less than quarterly to provide guidance on carrying out the recommendations.

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Staff Report