COLUMBUS - This week, State Senator John Eklund (R-Munson Township) received the 2016 Legislator of the Year Award from the Ohio Association of County Behavioral Health Authorities (OACBHA) for his leadership on mental health and addiction issues. 

 "It is humbling to be chosen for an award such as this," said Eklund. "I believe in the kind of legislation that can bring hope, the kind that has the power to transform lives and the kind that makes the men, woman and children of Ohio feel secure and cared for."

The OACBHA each year names a legislator who has exemplified leadership in regard to the Association's mission, who has strived for legislative excellence on related issues. 

"We are please to recognize Senator Eklund for his leadership in addressing mental illness and addictions throughout Ohio," said Cherri Walter, CEO of the OACBHA. "He is committed to ensuring that the citizens of Ohio have access to critical treatment services and recovery supports." 

Senator Eklund introduced Senate Bill 319, during the 131st General Assembly, ensuring responsible treatment for Ohioans struggling with addiction. 
The legislation requires that addiction treatment facilities treating 30 or more individuals with Suboxone be licensed by the Ohio Board of Pharmacy. The licensure requirement seeks to increase accountability and prevent the misuse of Suboxone, which can be part of an effective treatment plan to deter opiate dependence.

Furthermore, in 2015, Senator Eklund joined colleagues from the Ohio House and Senate to  sponsor legislation that harmonizes Ohio law with federal statute, creating ABLE (Achieving a Better Life Experience) savings accounts. These accounts offer higher quality of life and financial control to the thousands of Ohioans living with disabilities. The bill was geared toward reducing the heavy financial burden that disabled individuals and their families carry, while also promoting self-determination.

Senator Eklund was recognized during the OACBHA's annual Membership Luncheon in Columbus on January 31, 2017.
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