Saturday, Dec 10, 2016
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Editorials

For Issue 3

In next Tuesday's primary election, the Lucas County Alcohol and Drug Addiction Services Board's 0.5 mill, five-year, property levy is back on the ballot for the third time. The price is right for the return. It will cost the owner of a $50,000 home just $7.66 a year, and the benefits are substantial. We urge a vote FOR Issue 3.

The ADAS board, through 18 affiliated agencies, offers alcohol and drug prevention programs as well as intervention and treatment services, and it has liaisons with the local drug courts and correctional facilities.

Twice before, the voters have told ADAS no, and the sense was that people who abuse alcohol or drugs bring their miseries on themselves.

But even if that harsh judgment is so, it must be weighed against the role alcohol and drugs have traditionally been given in our society, and the fact that both are surreptitious in taking over individuals and turning them into addicts almost before they know it.

Few among us do not know someone with a dependency problem. They are family members and friends for whom most would, if they thought about it, gladly spend $8 to $16 a year to fix what ails them.

And no matter whose fault the addiction is, society pays one way or another, through the depredations of ill health, crime, destroyed family relationships, and devastated lives that will involve this group of people and spill over into the lives of the rest of us. We will be called on to pick up the pieces if we refuse to embrace prevention and treatment.

The ADAS board, with an operating budget of $7.5 million, most of it from state and federal sources, now gets $440,000 from a Lucas County Mental Health Board levy and another $225,000 from the Lucas County Department of Job and Family Services and Lucas County Children's Services.

But state funding has been cut, albeit modestly, while the demand for services keeps rising. The levy would bring in an added $3.9 million annually, the amount the board believes will close the gap between need and services.

The ADAS board has shown itself effective in partnering with community programs to heighten its effectiveness and theirs.

Passage of Issue 3 will fund an expansion of prevention services and treatment services on demand, which help decrease criminal behavior and health-care needs and ensure better school and work performance. Treatment programs could run longer, and there would be more intensive services for those who need them, as well as expanded efforts to involve family members in the alcoholic's or the addict's treatment, an important component in the process.

This is a levy that makes winners of everyone, those who pay and those who get the services. It came close to passing last time. This time the community would do itself a favor by putting Issue 3 over the top.

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