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Behavioral Health News Briefs

Behavioral Health News Briefs

STATE LAUNCHES CAMPAIGN TO WARN OF DEADLY DRUG FENTANYL

Focusing at first on 15 most at-risk counties, Ohio has opened a campaign to call attention to fentanyl, a drug up to 50 times more powerful than heroin.  "Fentanyl, which looks like heroin, is a powerful synthetic pain killer that has been laced into heroin but is increasingly being sold by itself - - often without the user's knowledge."  Fentanyl related overdose deaths have skyrocketed in other parts of the nation and are now climbing in some areas of Ohio.  It appears that fentanyl use has not yet reached high levels in Washington County.  MHAS News Now & NY Times/Columbus Dispatch

OHIO AIMS TO STRENGTHEN SCHOOLS' OPIOID ABUSE EDUCATIONAL PROGRAMS

Ohio law (House Bill 367) requires all public schools to educate students about the use and misuse of opiates.  Underscoring this legislation and the overall campaign to combat drug abuse, top state officials including the governor, attorney general, and House and Senate leaders have signed letters urging school superintendents to increase efforts to distribute opioid abuse information to teachers, counselors and parents.  The letter also encourages teachers, parents, and mentors to talk to students about drug abuse.  As means to accomplish this, the May 27 letter calls attention to the Start Talking! drug prevention initiative and the free age-appropriate resource kit provided by Generations Rx, a program developed by the Ohio State University School of Pharmacy and the Cardinal Health Foundation.   Information is available at and starttalking.ohio.gov.  In  Washington County substance abuse prevention programs, such as "Too Good for Drugs," are offered to public schools by EVE, Inc. (800-974-3111).  MHAS New Now & Columbus Dispatch

CIT TRAINING RETURNS TO WASHINGTON COUNTY

The Washington County Behavioral Health Board sponsored its second CIT training May 2 - 6, 2016.   Twelve individuals participated in this training; thirty-four Washington County law enforcement officers have been certified in Crisis Intervention Team training since November of 2014.  Some of these officers are now involved in subsequent trainings as planners, and along with other local professionals, as CIT  instructors.

CIT programs are local initiatives designed to enhance the skills that law enforcement and the community use to respond to people experiencing a mental health crisis. They are built on strong partnerships between law enforcement, mental health boards and provider agencies, and individuals and families affected by mental illness. 


Ohio Senators Propose Legislation to Combat Addiction Epidemic

Both Senator Sharrod Brown and Senator Rob Portman have sponsored legislation designed to address the growing addiction crisis across the nation.  Brown's "Heroin and Prescription Drug Abuse Prevention and Reduction Act"  and Portman's and Rhode Island Senator Sheldon Whitehouse's "Comprehensive Addiction Recovery Act" are intended to support "long term recovery by connecting prevention and education efforts with treatment programs."   Both Ohio Senators are highly concerned that the growing abuse of opioids impacts both urban and rural areas of the state.  As Senator Brown emphasizes, "Addiction isn't an individual problem or a character flaw - it's a chronic disease that when left untreated places a massive burden on our health care system, our families, and our communities."  [OHIO MHAS NEWS NOW]


LOCAL SUICIDE PREVENTION COALITION CONTINUES PLANNING, CHANGES NAME

The Suicide Prevention Coalition of Washington County has completed three sessions of strategic planning.  As part of this planning process, the coalition has changed its name to the Suicide Awareness Alliance of Washington County, reflecting the broader scope of its concerns.  In line with this broader scope of concerns, the Alliance has made a primary goal for 2016 the establishment of a LOSS (Looking Out for Survivors of Suicide) team.  LOSS teams respond to families following the suicide of a loved one, providing support, information and referrals.   For monthly Alliance meeting times and locations, call the Washington County Behavioral Health Board at (740) 374-6990.


SUICIDE PREVENTION INITIATIVE LAUNCHED BY STATE

Governor John Kasich's 2016-17 budget includes $2 million to finance a comprehensive suicide prevention initiative.  Local  boards and coalitions are being asked by the Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services to complete a suicide prevention needs assessment.   Ohio's annual suicide rate has reached the 1200-1500 level.  [OHIO MHAS NEWS NOW]


NEW LAW ASSISTS FAMILIES OF MENTALLY ILL, ADDRESSES COURT-ORDERED TREATMENT 

After promotional efforts by the National Association on Mental Illness (NAMI) Ohio, Senate Bill 43 has been passed and signed by Governor Kasich. The provisions of the law establish a pathway for families to acquire court-ordered outpatient care for mentally ill family members who are unable to understand the need for their treatment. The new law permits family members to submit an affidavit to a judge who, after reviewing the document, can order the family member with mental illness to enter an outpatient treatment program. Should the family member refuse outpatient treatment, the judge is authorized to order a more restrictive treatment option. The law focuses on individuals with mental illness who have a history of behavioral issues which have led to emergency hospitalization or court appearances. 

NAMI's guide "Understanding Ohio's Court Ordered Outpatient Treatment Law" can be downloaded at 
www.namiohio.org 


NEW LAW ESTABLISHES MINIMUM RANGE OF COMMUNITY-BASED ADDICTION SERVICES AND SUPPORTS 

Having become a law, House Bill 483 mandates that Ohio ADAMH (Alcohol, Drug and Mental Health Services) Boards, including the Washington County Behavioral Health Board, provide for a complete cycle of addiction services: prevention, treatment, support and rehabilitation. The guidelines set up in the law were prompted by clear evidence that far too many persons suffering addictions are being recycled in and out of outpatient treatment programs as well as prisons without ever receiving the assistance they need to achieve rehabilitation. To help communities implement a complete cycle of addiction services, the law provides appropriations set aside for prevention, treatment, support and rehabilitation. It is in response to this new state mandate and its accompanying appropriations that the Washington County Behavioral Health Board is seeking to establish a local residential addiction treatment facility. 

NEW SUPPORT GROUP FOR INDIVIDUALS RECOVERING THEIR MENTAL HEALTH

NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) Connection, a peer support group for individuals in recovery from mental health disorders, meets each Tuesday at 5:45 p.m. at Christ United Methodist Church, 301 Wooster Street, Marietta.  The group is facilitated by trained peers and is designed to provide respect, understanding, encouragement, and hope.  For more information, call  (740) 350-8264.