Boards merge in Mahoning County

Posted on: February 26, 2015 11:00 am

Mahoning County became one of the last counties in Ohio to merge it's alcohol and drug addiction services board and its mental health services board, creating the Mahoning County Mental Health and Recovery Board. The new board held its first meeting February 24 after a merger approval by the individual boards took place in late 2014.

The majority of the counties in Ohio have operated under a county (or multi-county) board governing both addiction and mental health services for many years. Mahoning has been one of the last to operate with two individual boards: the Mahoning County Alcohol and Drug Addiction Services (ADAS) Board and the Mahoning County Mental Health Board.

Proponents of the single board approach tout the benefits of streamlined services, as well as the number of individuals engaged in treatment and/or recovery services who are dually diagnosed. Detractors express concern about a loss of focus on alcohol and other drug services -- typically less funded than mental health services -- and a lack of attention to prevention services.

Duane Piccirilli, who was executive director of the Mahoning County Mental Health Board, assumed the same role with the new board. Brenda Heidinger, previously executive director of the Mahoning County ADAS Board -- and the only executive director of a county board holding an OCPS I or II credential -- has been named associate director.

With the Mahoning County merger, Butler and Lorain are the only two Ohio counties with separate boards.