The recently announced budget cuts proposed by the governor's office make drastic and harmful cuts the local mental health and addiction treatment programs. Cuts to the Ohio Department of Mental Health for community-based programs were 34 percent, while reductions for alcoholism and drug treatment were 30 percent.
These cuts must be reversed, not only for the assistance of below-poverty persons who need these services, but also for the well-being of the families, schools, and communities in which they live.
In a recent pilot program in Port Clinton (the "Conestoga Program") it was found that greater access to behavioral health treatments like these helped reduce neighborhood police complaints by 43 percent. Along with a strong array of other community development efforts, these services helped cause property values to increase by plus 6 percent in 2008, despite the troubled economy. So clearly, treatment helps not only the families involved but also the whole neighborhood. We would like to bring this program to Sandusky too, but must have the necessary funds. For information, call me at 419-627-1908.
Please contact Gov. Ted Strickland (614-466-3555), State Sen. Mark Wagoner (614-466-8060) and State Rep. Dennis Murray (614-644-6011) and ask them to provide adequate funding for mental health and addiction treatment services.
Kirk W. Halliday, Executive Director
Mental Health and Recovery Board of Erie and Ottawa Counties