At a statewide conference in Columbus, over 1,100 attendees participated in Ohio’s 2016 Opiate Conference: Advancing Prevention, Intervention, Treatment, and Recovery. Professionals, individuals, and family members impacted by addiction to opiates and other drugs were in attendance to learn from local, state, and national leaders. Summit County was well represented at the conference focused on national and state efforts to address the opiate epidemic while working to develop healthy, safe, and drug-free communities.
“Addiction isn’t an individual problem or a character flaw – it’s a chronic disease that places a massive burden on our health care system and on our families when left untreated,” Senator Sherrod Brown said. “Too many lives have already been destroyed and too many communities have already been devastated. That’s why we don’t just need a comprehensive approach that addresses the entire spectrum of addiction, we also must fund the programs that Ohio communities rely on in this fight against addiction. It’s time for us to get serious, and call this what it is – a public health crisis that demands real, immediate investment. It’s far past time – no more Ohio families should have to bury a loved one taken from them far too soon.”
“Since taking office, Governor John R. Kasich has put in place one of the nation’s most aggressive and comprehensive approaches to fight opiate addiction and drug overdoses. With the help of our partners at the national, state and local levels, we are making progress, but we still have more work to do,” said OhioMHAS Director Tracy Plouck. “As overdose deaths continue to climb, it’s more important than ever that we maintain a laser focus on critical prevention, treatment and recovery support services.”
“Since becoming director in 2011, our focus has been to reduce recidivism among those we touch,” said ODRC Director Gary Mohr. “While we have made great strides, there is still much work to be done. For us to truly have the impact we desire on our state, we must invest in people, not bricks and mortar. We know treatment in the community is less costly and more effective than the same treatment provided in a prison setting, which is why it is imperative that we continue provide local communities with the resources necessary to treat mental health and addiction disorders.”
The conference also included over 40 breakout sessions addressing prevention, treatment, recovery supports, emerging drug trends, drug courts, employment programs, and more.