County officials attend statewide Opiate Addiction Symposium

COLUMBUS — Local judicial, law enforcement, and treatment services representatives traveled to Columbus this week to learn about practices and options for opiate addiction treatment at the Ohio Judicial Symposium on Opiate Addiction.

Logan County was among 83 Ohio counties represented at the symposium presented by the Supreme Court of Ohio, the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction, the Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services, the Governor’s Cabinet Opiate Action Team, and Office of Criminal Justice Services and hosted by the Ohio Association of County Behavioral Health Authorities.

The event included remarks from Governor John R. Kasich, Ohio Supreme Court Justice Maureen O’Connor, and Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine.

“We’re done ignoring the drug addicted and the mentally ill in this state. We’re not going to save them all, but in the course of trying to save one person at a time, we not only change the world, we change ourselves,” Gov. Kasich said.

“Unintended deaths from opiate overdoses are approaching a problem that is nearly double the number of highway fatalities,” Ohio Supreme Court Justice Maureen O’Connor told the more than 800 in attendance. “I am convinced that with the collective wisdom and will of those who are gathered here today, we will develop effective strategies that will reverse the trend.”

The program also included presentations from addiction experts and a panel of judges running successful specialty dockets on drug abuse.

As a result of the program, the Logan County team discussed challenges for addressing opiate addiction, strategized around potential solutions, identified community resources available to support treatment plans, and discussed ideas to strengthen communications between all of the courts in the county to ensure that non-violent offenders receive appropriate judicial and clinical interventions and services.

Team members included: Judge Ann E. Beck, Logan County Prosecutor William T. Goslee, Sheriff Andrew J. Smith, Bellefontaine Police Chief Brandon Stanley, attorney Natalie Bahan, Janice Rhoades, Consolidated Care clinical director of alcohol and drug addiction; Annette Deao, family court treatment coordinator; State Parole Officer Jeffrey Roman, and David Newland, Bellefontaine Municipal Court probation officer.