Drug Free Workplace Community Initiative Launched in Hancock County

December 5, 2016


Findlay, Ohio In an effort to address the safety and economic threat of drug abuse in the workplace, Hancock County is one of 18 Ohio communities participating in the Working Partners® Drug-Free Workforce Community Initiative. This statewide initiative is a public-private partnership, funded in part by the Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services.

The Initiative’s objectives are to increase an employable, drug-free workforce in Ohio; build healthier, more productive and economically sound workplaces; and to create systems to educate employees – who are parents or adults with influence over young people – to prevent drug use among that population now and in the future.  To achieve these objectives the Initiative will be modeled after a program developed by drug-free workplace industry experts, Working Partners® and bring together local stakeholders and businesses.

“We are concerned about the drug-related issues we are facing and how they affect not only individuals, families, and the community as a whole, but also workplaces which are the economic foundation of our community,” said Zachary Thomas, Director of Wellness and Education, Hancock County ADAMHS Board. “By bringing employers together to develop polices and share best practices, we believe we are taking very important steps to address the economic threat of substance abuse by employees and job seekers in our state.”

“We are thrilled to partner with Hancock County to create their own unique Drug-Free Workforce Community Initiative,” said Dee Mason, founder and CEO of Working Partners®. “By attacking this problem with a local grassroots approach, working with leaders embedded in communities across the state, we believe we will realize measurable changes that will result in a safer, healthier and more economically viable Ohio workforce.”


The Working Partners® Drug-Free Workforce Community Initiative (DFWCI) is a public-private partnership between the State of Ohio and Working Partners® to address the economic threat of substance abuse by employees and job seekers in our state. We are doing this by

  • Bringing together key stakeholders and employers in 18 communities throughout the state to assess local challenges and resources, and implement strategies to develop a job-ready workforce of drug-free individuals to serve employers’ needs now and in the future.
  • Working with employers to equip them with education, technical assistance and tools needed to prevent and respond to workplace substance abuse in a productive, legally-sound and meaningful way.
  • Providing regular communications to leadership (local, state and national) to keep them apprised of all substance abuse issues and legislation that affect the workplace.

Our goal is to build healthier, stronger, more productive workforces and workplaces based on local needs and, in turn, build a healthier, stronger, more economically-sound Ohio.

The Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services (OhioMHAS) and Working Partners® have developed a public-private partnership to move the Working Partners® Drug-Free Workforce Community Initiative forward throughout the state. The initiative will support local employment strategies related to drug-free workplaces. OhioMHAS has provided funding for 18 local communities to work with Working Partners® to convene and coordinate stakeholders to assess specific community needs and develop local action plans to develop strong local drug-free workforces by employing a variety of best practices that meet these needs.





Surgeon General’s Report – Facing Addiction in America

The U.S. Surgeon General, Vivek Murthy, recently released a new report, Facing Addiction in America, The Surgeon General’s Report on Alcohol, Drugs, and Health

Please click on the links below to access the report, supporting materials, and video:

Facing Addiction in America: A National Summit (video)

Facing Addiction in America: The Surgeon General’s Report on Alcohol, Drugs, and Health – Executive Summary

Facing Addiction in America (website)


Volunteers Needed!

The 2016 ADAMHS Levy Campaign Committee is preparing to launch a door-to-door canvass campaign as a final push to “get out the vote” before November 8. We intend to carry out this campaign the last two weekends of the election season (October 29/30, November 5/6).

We need your help!

We have a target for each volunteer team (teams of two) to knock on 100 doors during each shift.

In order to accomplish this goal we are asking you to select a day during the campaign that you are able to volunteer three hours to canvass a designated neighborhood, promote the Mental Health Levy and encourage everyone you speak with to vote for the Mental Health Levy on November 8.

In order for this to be the most effective campaign, we are asking for thirty volunteers for each of the four days of canvassing.

If you would like to assist us with our campaign, click HERE for more information.

Cover Letter

Sign Up Sheet 10-29-16

Sign Up Sheet 10-30-16

Sign Up Sheet 11-5-16

Sign Up Sheet 11-6-16

Hancock County Team Holds Stepping Up Planning Session with Retired Justice Elizabeth Stratton to Reduce the Number of Persons with Mental Illness in Ohio Jails

On Wednesday, August 10, Retired Justice Elizabeth Stratton and other state officials met in Findlay to lead a group of community leaders through a planning session as part of the Ohio Stepping Up Initiative.


Ohio has joined a growing national effort to reduce the number of persons with mental illness who cycle through county jails. The Stepping Up Initiative brings local criminal justice and behavioral health systems together to improve public safety, access to services, and treatment outcomes.


The Stepping Up Initiative was launched in May 2015 as a partnership of The Council of State Governments (CSG) Justice CenterThe National Association of Counties, and The American Psychiatric Association Foundation. The initiative is designed to rally national, state, and local leaders around the goal of reducing the number of people with mental illnesses and substance use disorders in jail.


“Ohio has been a leader in establishing mental health and veterans courts, developing Crisis Intervention Teams in law enforcement, and other efforts to reform the criminal justice system for persons with mental illness,” said retired Ohio Supreme Court Justice Evelyn Lundberg Stratton, who will serve as project director of the Ohio Stepping Up Initiative. “Once again, we are proud to be a leader in a national effort. Our work through the Stepping Up Initiative will improve public safety, break the cycle of jail for persons with mental illness, and increase their access to treatment.”


Each year, an estimated two million people with serious mental illnesses are admitted to jails across the nation – a rate that’s three to six times higher than that of the general public. Nearly three-quarters of these adults also have drug and alcohol use problems. Once incarcerated, individuals with mental illnesses tend to stay longer in jail and upon release are at a higher risk of returning to incarceration than those without these illnesses.


“The number of people with mental illnesses in U.S. jails has reached a crisis level,” said OhioMHAS Director Plouck, who also serves on the CSG Justice Center’s national board of directors. “The vast majority of these individuals who have committed minor offenses can be safely treated, and if necessary, placed under community supervision, instead of being put behind bars. We’re excited to join this effort and look forward to working with our partners at all levels to help counties achieve their goals.”


Since its launch, Stepping Up has garnered widespread support among criminal justice, behavioral health and advocacy groups such as the National Alliance on Mental Illness. To date, more than 270 counties in 41 states have passed resolutions to advance the goals of Stepping Up.


“NAMI Ohio has advocated for better coordination between the criminal justice and mental health systems for years,” said Terry Russell, executive director. “We look forward to further collaboration with Ohio’s county sheriffs, jail administrators, judges, community corrections professionals, treatment providers, family members and people impacted by mental illness to provide them with the tools, resources and technical assistance to deal with this issue in a more humane and cost effective manner.”


Learn more about the Stepping Up Initiative at https://stepuptogether.org/. View a map of participating Ohio counties, and discover more about Ohio’s efforts to reduce the number of criminal offenders with untreated mental illness and/or substance use disorders who continually cycle through county jails at: http://mha.ohio.gov/Default.aspx?tabid=852