Ohio’s 2015 Conference on Opiates and Other Drugs
By Ed Hughes, CEO Compass Community Health and The Counseling Center, Inc.
I had the pleasure of attending Ohio’s 2015 Conference on Opiates and Other Drugs this week, sponsored by the Ohio Association of County Behavioral Health Authorities. While I attended several excellent workshops and training sessions, I was particularly impressed by the pre-conference session presented by Gary Mohr, Director of the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction and Tracy Plouck, Director of the Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services (ODMHAS).
Director Mohr pointed out that 80% of persons incarcerated within Departments of Rehabilitation and Correction (DRC) facilities have histories of drug or alcohol addiction, and that while violent crime in Ohio is on the decline; the number of incarcerations is increasing. This means that we are sending more and more people to prison for non-violent crimes, most of which are drug related. Director Mohr expressed his commitment to creating more local options for dealing with addiction and its corresponding criminal behavior. I was moved by his comment that “a one year prison sentence can turn into a life sentence” when we consider the continuing consequences of a felony conviction.
Director Plouck voiced her continued support for the development of more treatment access and the creation of additional recovery housing. ODMHAS has already made a significant impact over the past year in helping agencies create supportive, recovery housing. The Counseling Center is in the process of developing over 40 new beds of such housing in our region.
This is an exciting time in the addiction treatment field as we are witnessing an historic partnership of private, non-profit, and government organizations, all working to create opportunities for addicted people and their families to get the help they need so they can eventually celebrate recovery.
Employees of The Counseling Center, Inc. attend the 2015 Opiates and Other Drugs Conference, Columbus, Ohio on March 30 – 31, 2015. L to R: Wanda Riffe, Penny Moore, Bill Sheppard, Sean Davis, Andrea Queen, and Mary Irwin