COLUMBUS — Mental health advocates joined at the Ohio Statehouse on Tuesday to honor State Sen. Bob Hackett (R-London) for his support of mental health issues.
“It has been my pleasure to support important efforts to improve the quality of life for those struggling with mental illness in my community and across the state of Ohio,” Hackett stated in a release. “I am honored to receive this award and will continue to be a champion for individuals and families affected by mental illnesses.”
During a special ceremony, leaders from the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) of Ohio presented Hackett with an award honoring him as the organization’s Legislator of the Year. As a member of the Ohio House of Representatives, Hackett served as co-chair of the House Mental Health Caucus.
NAMI Ohio was created in 1982 by a small, dedicated group of family members to provide mutual support, education and advocacy for individuals affected by serious mental disorders.
As a grassroots organization, NAMI Ohio advocates for public policies to improve the care and enhance resources for persons living with mental illnesses. NAMI Ohio’s network of 39 local affiliates plays an active role providing support, education and advocacy at the local level.
The senator also announced on Wednesday that he has introduced legislation aimed at further defining prescribing guidelines for healthcare professionals and requiring health care facilities to offer both addictive and non-addictive painkillers.
“Ohio leads the nation in opiate deaths, both in prescription drug and heroin overdoses,” he stated in a release. “Daniel’s Law is in response to this horrific epidemic and seeks to prevent further loss of life and the ongoing destruction of our communities.”
Opiate addiction is recognized by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) as a public health crisis. Daniel’s Law would follow the prescribing guidelines for doctors set by the CDC, which recognizes that addiction often originates from overprescribing for the treatment of acute pain.
Named in honor of Daniel Weidle of Montgomery County who lost his life to an opiate addiction in 2015 after being denied access to life saving, non-addictive medication options to treat his illness.
The state of Ohio licenses 30,000 health professionals to prescribe opioids but there are only 1,000 treatment facilities in Ohio. The vast majority of those treatment facilities do not offer non-addictive treatment options such as naltrexone which has been proven effective in step therapy for long term success in treating opioid addiction.