The Morning Journal (Lorain, OH)

Commission­ers deserve credit on crisis center

Lorain County Commission­ers correctly voted Aug. 24 to allocate $4 million for a crisis stabilizat­ion center to help those struggling with addiction and mental health issues.


These are serious issues facing our community, and the commission­ers passionate­ly proved they want to have an impact on the people who desperatel­y need help.

The Lorain County facility will offer 32 beds — 16 for those struggling with mental health issues and 16 for those seeking help for addiction.

Medical profession­als specializi­ng in addiction and mental health will staff the facility.

During the meeting, Commission­er Michelle Hung said the $4 million in funding from Lorain County matches $4 million previously allocated by the Mental Health, Addiction and Recovery Services Board of Lorain County for a crisis stabilizat­ion center.

The facility will help those struggling with addiction and mental health issues involved in the criminal justice system to get the help they need.

Another positive is the facility will help ease the burden on law enforcemen­t to deal with those types of medical issues in the midst of their dayto-day work in ensuring public safety.

Hung noted the $4 million in funding settlement money from the OneOhio opioid class action suit along with funding from the federal American Rescue Plan will provide the mechanism for the commission­ers to partner in the financing of the new facility.

Lorain County is set to receive $1.8 million as part of the opioid settlement.

Commission­er Matt Lundy said that not only is the crisis stabilizat­ion center a gamechange­r, but a life-saver that is critical to the local economy.

Instead of flooding the courts and jails, people can dedicate themselves to recovery.

Also, people can get back to work, and most importantl­y, back with their families.

We agree with Lundy in his assertion that this is one of the most important decisions and investment­s the commission­ers likely could make to change lives in Lorain County.

The commission­ers welcomed Lorain County leaders in fighting back against the opioid epidemic, including MHARS Board Executive Director Michael Doud, Nord Center’s CEO Don Schiffbaue­r, LCADA Way’s President/CEO Dan Haight and MHARS Board of Directors President Dan Urbin.

Doud, who recently took over day-to-day operations of the MHARS Board, stated that when people experience an addiction or mental health crisis, it may not always be clear to them, their loved ones and law enforcemen­t how to handle these issues.

However, he noted this crisis stabilizat­ion center is a front door to access services in the community and is an investment in modernizin­g the level of care for Lorain County residents struggling with addiction and mental health issues.

So, the next step is to get shovels in the ground and begin constructi­on by the end of the year with a potential completion date in 2022.

The Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services is willing to contribute an additional $750,000 toward constructi­on costs and the MHARS Board has worked with The Nord Center and an architect to place the facility on a parcel of land owned by Nord.

Urbin, who shared the story of his road to recovery, said his passion is to help others who seek a life of recovery from their disease.

Living a life of sobriety for him, he said, is best defined by being considerat­e and understand­ing.

He and the others are pleased with the commission­ers’ decision to fund this important and long-awaited facility for Lorain County.

Schiffbaue­r added that to get to this point, however, is very exciting for the community and The Nord Center and in treating behavioral health issues separately from physical health.

The goals are to drasticall­y improve the community in treating addiction and mental health, and everyone should want that.

Describing it as a behavioral health emergency room, Schiffbaue­r said the clients who are coming in are in need of medication stabilizat­ion, quick counseling and appropriat­e assessment to the right level of care.

Also, there will be a nurse practition­er or physician assistant, nurses, social workers and case managers at the facility.

More importantl­y, the clients will have peer support specialist­s, people with lived experience regarding substance use disorder and behavioral health who can establish a credible relationsh­ip with those coming through the door in crisis and help build that relationsh­ip to support a successful outcome.

The commission­ers deserve credit for their effort to treat people with these issues.

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