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DeWine Announced Ohio is Now Offering Millions in Substance Use/Mental Health Court Programs


(COLUMBUS, Ohio) – Ohio Governor Mike DeWine announced today that Ohio is now offering $7.5 million in grant funding to support the expansion of specialized court programs that focus on recovery from substance use or mental health disorders.

Governor DeWine proposed the grants in March as part of his RecoveryOhio initiative.

Specialized court dockets give judges the flexibility to place defendants with mental health or substance use disorders into treatment rather than sentencing them to jail.

“When someone struggling with a mental health or substance use disorder commits a crime, sending them to jail won’t get them the treatment they need,” said Governor DeWine. “This funding will help specialty courts in Ohio direct those arrested for non-violent crimes toward recovery.”

“Judges replace harsh sentences with mandatory treatment to those who are addicted, all the while holding them accountable,” Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor said. “They care about recovery, and their compassion shows. They care about the person who’s struggling, the families affected, and the community.”

The grants will be awarded through the Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services (OhioMHAS) and are funded through Ohio’s 2020-2021 operating budget. Any court that is not currently receiving specialized docket or drug court grant funding can apply.

“We appreciate the partnerships between the courts and our treatment agencies which provide accountability, improve health and safety, and reduce commitments to the state correctional system,” said Lori Criss, director of the Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services. “This funding creates opportunities for new specialized dockets and helps sustain those that are already existing.”

The grant funding can be used for payroll costs, clinical services provided by state-certified addiction and/or mental health providers, medication-assisted treatment (MAT) medications, urinalysis, and recovery supports.

Applications will be accepted in two categories:

  • Specialty courts receiving final certification after July 1, 2019, and not previously certified
  • Specialty courts that received final certification before July 1, 2019, or operational specialized dockets seeking re-certification.

Applications will be accepted until all available funds have been awarded, but questions must be received via email to [email protected].gov no later than November 14, 2019.

More information on the grant, including application documents, is available on the OhioMHAS website.