5. House Passes 10 Bills Aimed at Combating Addiction to Opioids

The U.S. House on Wednesday passed 10 bills designed to fight opioid addiction. They are part of a package of 18 bills expected to be approved this week, USA Today reports.

One of the bills would authorize the creation of an interagency task force that would review, modify and update best practices for prescribing opioids. Members of the task force would include representatives of federal agencies, pain advocacy groups and mental and behavioral health providers.

Another bill would require states that receive federal grants for child protective services to have laws or programs to ensure babies born to mothers addicted to opioids will be cared for safely when they leave the hospital.  Click here to read full article.

What’s Good for Mental Health is Good for the Economy

The Lancet PsychiatryExternal Web Site Policy recently reported that mental illness costs the global economy $1 trillion each year. In the United States alone, it’s estimated to cost approximately $105 billion in lost productivity and nearly $200 billion each year in lost earnings.  Approximately 30 percent of total disability costs are due to mental disorders.  These numbers have increased between 1990 and 2013 as the number of people with depression and/or anxiety around the world increased by nearly 50 percent.  Disasters and ongoing conflicts continue to contribute to these increases.  Yet, governments spend, on average, only 3 percent of their health budgets on mental health. For individual well-being……click here to read full article.

The best states for people with disabilities? Yes, some are better than others….

Expert occupational therapist Megan Elizabeth Driscoll and our research team spent 60 hours ranking every state to find the best places in the U.S. to live with a disability. The top three states for 2016 were Colorado, Minnesota, and Pennsylvania.


Our expert

Our research was guided by Megan Elizabeth Driscoll, MOT, OTR/L. A graduate of the University of Pittsburgh, Megan is an occupational therapist specializing in both orthopedic and neurological rehabilitation. She is currently a facility director for one of the largest rehab service providers in the state of Pennsylvania, overseeing all occupational and physical therapy, as well as vocational rehabilitation services. Megan and her colleagues work daily with people with disabilities, helping their quest to achieve physical independence through a combination of both treatme…..

Click here to read further.

Lights. Camera. Video…… Ohio’s Medical Marijuana Bill: Overview

Check out the below video to gain a better understanding of House Bill 523, courtesy of Working Partners:

President Obama – 2016 Prescription Drug Abuse & Heroin Summit

Rx Drug Abuse and Heroin Summit:

Recovery is possible and needs to be resourced


Pres Obama 2016

On March 29th, President Obama joined individuals in recovery, family members, medical professionals, law enforcement officials and other leaders at the National Rx Drug Abuse and Heroin Summit in Atlanta, Georgia to escalate the fight against the prescription opioid abuse and heroin epidemic, which is claiming the lives of tens of thousands of Americans each year.

The President stated that addressing this epidemic is a priority for his Administration, and that actions being announced represent further steps to expand access to treatment, prevent overdose deaths and increase community prevention strategies. These actions build on the President’s proposal for $1.1 billion in new funding to help every American with an opioid use disorder get the treatment they need.

Specifically, the President announced the following Administration actions:

Expanding Access to Treatment, which included: increasing the current patient limit for qualified physicians who prescribe buprenorphine to treat opioid use disorders from 100 to 200 patients; $94 million in new funding to 271 Community Health Centers across the country to increase substance use disorder treatment services, with a specific focus on expanding medication-assisted treatment of opioid use disorders in under-served communities; $11 million in new funding for up to 11 States to expand their medication-assisted treatment services; distribution of 10,000 pocket guides for clinicians with a checklist for prescribing medication for opioid use disorder treatment; and trainings to increase the number of doctors qualified to prescribe buprenorphine.

Establishing a Mental Health and Substance Use Disorder Parity Task Force, which involves the creation of an inter-agency Task Force, to advance access to mental health and substance use disorder treatment; promote compliance with best practices for mental health and substance use disorder parity implementation; and develop additional agency guidance as needed.

Implementing Mental Health and Substance Use Disorder Parity in Medicaid, which involves a rule to strengthen access to mental health and substance use services for people enrolled in Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) plans by requiring that these benefits be offered at parity, meaning that they be comparable to medical and surgical benefits.

Preventing Opioid Overdose Deaths, which involves a new $11 million funding opportunity to States to purchase and distribute the opioid overdose reversal drug, naloxone, and to train first responders and others on its use along with other overdose prevention strategies.

Expanding Public Health-Public Safety Partnerships to Combat the Spread of Heroin which involves the Office of National Drug Control Policy expanding its heroin initiative by adding Ohio and Michigan to the effort. These States will join the Appalachia, New England, Philadelphia/Camden, New York/New Jersey, and Washington/Baltimore HIDTAs in accelerating local partnerships between law enforcement and their counterparts in public health to combat heroin use and overdose.

Investing in Community Policing to Address Heroin, involving a $7 million funding opportunity, called the COPS Anti-Heroin Task Force Program, to advance public safety and to investigate the distribution of heroin, unlawful distribution of prescription opioids, and unlawful heroin and prescription opioid traffickers.

Tackling Substance Use Disorders in Rural Communities which involves a $1.4 million Rural Health and Safety Education Grant Program to enhance the quality of life in rural areas through health and safety education projects including a focus on addressing the critical challenges related to substance use disorders in rural communities across the country.

Implementing Syringe Services Programs which includes the issuance of guidance regarding the use of Federal funds to implement or expand syringe services programs for people who inject drugs.

Let’s Treat it Together


A 20 minute video on opiate addiction in Ohio, including updated statistics, addiction theory, how medication assisted treatment may be utilized, inspiration from judges, and a call to action issued by our own Chief Justice.  It is a follow-up video to the Judicial Symposium on Opiate Addiction, which took place in Columbus on June 30, 2014.  Please click HERE to view the video.


NAMI Family-to-Family Announcement

A free 12-week education course for family members or caregivers of individuals

living with mental illnesses. Click here to register for this event.  If this class doesn’t work for your

schedule, you can join NAMI’s wait list by clicking here.

Event Information:


Mondays, March 7 – May 23
6:30 pm to 9:00 pm
Mercy Health Clermont Hospital (Minning Hall)
3000 Hospital Drive
Batavia, OH 45103

Opiate Task Force meets with state legislators

OTF 2016

BATAVIA, Ohio (Jan. 26, 2016) — The Clermont County Opiate Task Force invited our three state legislators – Representative John Becker, Representative Doug Green, and Senator Joe Uecker – to its monthly meeting on Jan. 14.  One of the areas of focus for the Opiate Task Force is advocacy, and the group wanted to hear from the legislators about bills and issues being discussed in Columbus, as well as share concerns and needs with the legislators.

Sen. Uecker started the meeting by summarizing the many bills passed by the Ohio Legislature over the past few years related to addiction, particularly focused on those involving prescription drugs and heroin.  Reps. Becker and Green added their perspective on bills passed and pending in the House.  Members of the Opiate Task Force then provided information on the group – how and why it was started, its action plan, and the four primary areas of focus outlined in the plan: Prevention, treatment, harm reduction, and supply reduction.

For over an hour, task force members shared information and stories with the legislators. Some of the topics addressed included:

  • The rising cost of naloxone (Narcan) and the financial impact on local fire and EMS departments that are responding to more and more overdoses
  • The need for additional resources for treatment services
  • The impact of Medicaid expansion, which now provides funding for many individuals with addiction
  • The toll on families and communities as increasing numbers of people become addicted to opiates and more die due to overdose.

The legislators were clearly impacted by the community members who attended to tell their stories of loss and frustration, caused by losing loved ones to addiction, and the children either born addicted or who lose parents to this disease.  Rep. Green shared his personal story of how he has been affected by the addiction of a family member, which led him to sponsor legislation to help get more pregnant women into treatment.

The legislators thanked the Opiate Task Force for helping to educate them about this issue and for their service and dedication to helping people achieve recovery.  The meeting served as a step toward additional communication with our state representatives to keep them informed of the many programs and services being provided in Clermont County, as well as the many unmet needs to successfully address the heroin epidemic in this community and throughout Ohio.  ######

(Photo: The Clermont County Opiate Task Force in May 2015.)

For more information, contact Karen Scherra, Executive Director of the Mental Health and Recovery Board, kscherra@ccmhrb.org.

Article courtesy of – http://www.clermontcountyohio.gov/OpiateTaskForce_Jan.2016.aspx?utm_source=February+2016+Clermont+County+Newsletter&utm_campaign=Clermont+County+February+2016+Newsletter&utm_medium=email#sthash.oF922UWO.dpuf

An app for mental illnesses…really? Check this out….

PsyberGuide provides information, reviews, and ratings on apps for mental health.  Click here to review their product list.  For example, you can find a product by on of the following listings, feel free to use any of the links below:


Alcohol and the Holidays… two must reads:

The Truth About Holiday Spirits: How to Celebrate Safely This Season

We all want to celebrate during the holidays, and more people are likely to drink beyond their limits during this season than at other times of the year. Some will suffer adverse consequences that range from fights to falls to traffic crashes. Sadly, we often put ourselves and others at risk because we don’t understand how alcohol affects us during an evening of celebratory drinking.  Read more at:  http://pubs.niaaa.nih.gov/publications/RethinkHoliday/NIAAA_NYE_Fact_Sheet.htm

Rethinking Drinking: Alcohol and your health

Do you enjoy a drink now and then?

Many of us do, often when socializing with friends and family. Drinking can be beneficial or harmful, depending on your age and health status, and, of course, how much you drink.  Read more at:  http://www.rethinkingdrinking.niaaa.nih.gov/