One of the missing components in this area’s mental health and substance abuse treatment network has been residential care, a rehab or detox center, if you will.
Those trying to beat a serious drug habit or struggling with depression can find outpatient counseling here, but have to travel elsewhere if residential care is what the doctor ordered. That means that people who need intensive help have to go to Bowling Green, Toledo, or even farther.
As a result, some never get the help they need. Some end up in jail. And some die.
Hancock County has wanted a residential care center since at least 2007, and voters approved a levy through the Hancock County Alcohol, Drug Addiction and Mental Health Services board to help fund it. But those plans had to be put on hold when the recession hit and the state cut funding by $1.2 million.
But as Ohio’s addiction to prescription pain pills, and then heroin, began to play out, public shout outs for a residential treatment center in Hancock County returned.
Fortunately, the ADAMHS board and Century Health have found a way to open a 12-bed residential treatment center on Crystal Avenue on the north side of Findlay. While the facility won’t open until later this year, there’s little doubt it will improve the quality of life for many, and save others, once it does.
The community’s investment in the center is substantial, and special. The purchase and renovation of the building will cost $600,000, and is being financed by both public and private money. Marathon Petroleum Corp. and St. Andrews United Methodist Church are among the partners.
Residents will be selected through assessments and will be monitored throughout their stay, which will vary from three to nine months.
The center can’t open soon enough, considering the state’s opiate epidemic.
Authorities have been successful in closing pill mills that served as dispensaries for painkillers like Oxycontin, Percocet, and Vicodin. But as those prescription drug sources dried up, many people, now addicted, have moved on to heroin. On average, five people a day are dying of prescription or illegal drug overdoses. The deaths aren’t just happening in Columbus, Cincinnati, or Cleveland, but in areas like ours.
Various efforts are underway in the Legislature to address the problem. Bills have been introduced to make it easier for counties to offer needle-exchange programs, to allow family and friends of addicts to dispense naloxone, a nasal spray to reverse the effects of a drug overdose, and to grant immunity to those who call 911 to report a drug overdose.
The impetus behind much of the legislation is to keep addicts alive so they can get treatment to overcome addiction.
The new residential center will allow those who need help to get it. It took a crisis, but substance abuse and mental health treatment will be getting the extra attention they deserve.
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