Changes Possible in Addiction Recovery Process

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A Gallipolis lawmaker wants behavioral counseling to become a requirement for recovering opiate addicts.

Rep. Ryan Smith (R) drafted House Bill 378, now moving through committee, which would force addicts who are using recovery medication to also receive counseling.

No recovering addicts could receive any of three drugs commonly used to treat heroin addictions, including Methadone, without participating in counseling services.

A special medical director would also be hired to oversee the psychiatric treatment.

Smith is the chairman of a the House subcommittee on Opiate Addiction Treatment and Reform.

He said this plan would improve chances of recovery.

"Often times, what we’ve found is medically assisted treatment is only so effective on it’s own. So House Bill 378 will require all wrap-around services and mental health and things like that, to help solve some of the other problems and give people a greater chance to succeed," Smith said.

The biggest concern is Ohio’s rural areas, where behavioral treatment services are not always readily available.

"We need to make sure that the services are available so that we can get as many people in treatment and hopefully get their addiction solved," Smith said.

Caleigh Bourgeois is a fellow in Ohio University’s E.W. Scripps School of Journalism Statehouse News Bureau. Follow her on Twitter @caleighreports.