Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services

photo of Tracy Plouck
DANIEL KONIK / OGT

One of the leading figures in the state’s battle against the deadly opioid crisis is stepping down. The departure of the head of the Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services, who’s leaving six months before the end of the term of her boss, Gov. John Kasich.

Tracy Plouck was Medicaid director under Govs. Bob Taft and Ted Strickland. Kasich hired her to head the Department of Mental Health, which merged with Addiction Services in 2013.

photo of Sen. Dave Burke
KAREN KASLER / STATEHOUSE NEWS BUREAU

The state is moving mental health and addiction services for low-income Ohioans into Medicaid managed care by July 1, but providers say this huge redesign is straining their finances and could shut them down. But a key lawmaker involved in legislation relating to this redesign says it’s unlikely to be delayed.

Emilie Zhang / Shutterstock

With the opioid crisis killing an estimated 11 Ohioans a day, state medical boards are rolling out additional rules for doctors and other prescribers who have patients dealing with long-term and acute pain. The guidelines create new hurdles to jump over before a doctor can prescribe opioid-based painkillers. 

The new requirements ask doctors to evaluate a patient’s condition, look for signs of drug misuse, and consider consultation with a pain specialist.

View from the offices of Department of Mental Health & Addiction Services
Tim Rudell / WKSU

Ohio is dramatically expanding the number of caregivers who can prescribe Suboxone and other drugs for medication-assisted treatment of addiction.  The effort is part of a broader strategy to address the opioid epidemic. Not everyone thinks it’s a good idea.

Eric Wandersleben
Tim Rudell / WKSU

Starting today, the message “Start Talking!” will be on billboards across northeast Ohio…and the state. 

The outdoor advertising blitz involves hundreds of digital-display and conventional signs and is aimed at helping stem the Opioid crisis.  

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