Union County votes on levy to fight heroin epidemic

The Mental Health and Recovery Board of Union County is asking for more money to help the fight against the opiate crisis. (MGN)

Union County voters will decide whether they will pay more to fight the ongoing opiate crisis. The Mental Health and Recovery Board of Union County will ask for more money on its latest levy.

"You can't get better unless you have the resources to get better," said Melinda Ross whose son has been struggling with heroin addiction. She has several family members who have received their treatment through the county. "Recovery with the services is hard enough but without the services, I don't know that recovery maybe impossible."

Ross is part of a support group for parents of people struggling with addiction.

The levy would cost homeowners $25 a year for every $100,000 their home is worth.

"It's a small tax," said Dr. Philip Atkins, the head of the Mental Health and Recovery Board of Union County. "Nobody likes taxes but it's a small levy that makes a huge difference."

Atkins said treatment for people swept up in the opiate epidemic is by far the biggest part of his budget.

"We are the safety net for folks who for one reason or another can't afford to pay for treatment," he said.

The county funding goes toward programs like long-term recovery treatment at the Wings Support and Recovery Center in Marysville.

"It affects everyone in the community whether it's someone going through it themselves or that you have a family member that's going through it," said Wings Executive Director Tim Schilling.

Wings gives its treatment to patients for free. Schilling said that's not something they would be able to do without support from the public.

"A lot of people here in Union County don't realize how bad the opioid epidemic is," Ross said. "They're in the mindset of, 'not my child. Not in my community. That does not happen in Marysville' and it does."

Election Day is November 7th.

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