This year, as we head towards Election Day, The Center for Community Solutions is posing 18 questions for the upcoming 2018 election. These questions are based on the research that Community Solutions conducted and compiled over the past several years on our six policy priority areas. We pose three questions for each priority area. We are sharing these questions far and wide, starting today!
For the next six weeks, we will delve a bit deeper into each of the policy priority area questions in a blog, starting with access to behavioral health services.
It is no secret that Ohio, like much of the nation, is in the midst of an opioid crisis.
It is no secret that Ohio, like much of the nation, is in the midst of an opioid crisis. The state has been in this spot for several years, and policymakers are more and more interested in moving upstream to prevent the negative effects of drug use on individuals and communities. Community Solutions has made recommendations around substance use prevention in an effort to focus on strategies that stop drug use before it starts. As it relates to harm reduction, Community Solutions has looked at syringe exchange programs that have operated in Ohio for many years, as well as the growth in these programs since the opioid crisis escalated. A 2015 change in state law made the creation of syringe exchange programs more streamlined for jurisdictions in Ohio. In early 2016, there were six programs in the state; there are now 15 that cover 17 counties.
While the severity of the opioid crisis across the state has frequently made headlines, overdose deaths as a result of other substances are also increasing.
While the severity of the opioid crisis across the state has frequently made headlines, overdose deaths as a result of other substances are also increasing. These substances include alcohol and cocaine. We have also seen an alarmingly increasing trend in the suicide rate. Community Solutions will continue to work to elevate these issues and strategies to address them.
Community Solutions worked alongside the Mental Health & Addiction Advocacy Coalition on By the Numbers 4, looking at the intersection of the behavioral health and criminal justice systems. As a result of this research, we quantified the enormous impact that untreated and undertreated behavioral health disorders can have on communities and on people living with these conditions; people who too often end up involved with the criminal justice system.
Based on this information, we’ve proposed three questions to the 2018 candidates:
- What solutions will you explore to stem the tide of drug/alcohol addiction and overdose, along with increasing rates of suicide and mental illness, to increase opportunity for Ohioans?
- How will you seek input from communities around the state that are seeing success with local strategies?
- How will you ensure that everyone has access to behavioral health services who needs them?