The Athens NEWS is asking Athens County voters to consider supporting Issue 3 on the county ballot this Nov. 7.

Issue 3 is a 10-year renewal of an existing 1-mill levy for the Athens-Hocking-Vinton Alcohol, Drug Addiction and Mental Health Service District (317 board).

With southeast Ohio fighting mightily to keep our heads above water during a persistent opioid crisis, now is not the time to surrender by cutting essential funding for an agency that’s on the front lines in this life-or-death battle. Other hard drugs and alcohol remain significant problems for many area citizens as well.

Likewise, now (or ever) isn’t the time to withdraw essential services that are helping people with developmental and mental-health disabilities.

This particular levy represents around 24 percent of the 317 Board’s budget.

The three-county Board obtains funds, designs policies, evaluates programs and monitors services for those seeking help. The board also promotes educational and prevention programs to raise community awareness of behavioral-health issues.

Some of the members of the board’s care network include Hopewell Health Centers, Health Recovery Services, My Sister’s Place, NAMI Athens, the Gathering Place, the John W. Clem Recovery House, the New Beginnings Peer House, the Family & Children First Councils, the Athens & Hocking Opiate Task Forces, and a variety of others.

Without the services provided by the 317 Board and levy, many of our neighbors, friends, coworkers and acquaintances’ lives would become incalculably more difficult.

It’s especially important that Athens County provides a strong yes vote on Issue 3 since the other two counties that contribute to the Alcohol, Drug Addiction and Mental Health Service District – Hocking and Vinton – haven’t been as supportive as we have.

Please vote yes on Athens County Issue 3.

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