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Executive Order 2019-01D

Creating the Governor’s RecoveryOhio Initiative

WHEREAS, Ohio is facing the worst drug epidemic in my lifetime and is losing 13 or 14 people a day from accidental drug overdoses. Every county in Ohio and every city, town and village – urban and rural – is affected.  The human toll, the increased crime, and the economic and societal damages caused by this epidemic are devastating; and

WHEREAS, the cost consequences of this epidemic reach every part of Ohio’s communities: schools, jails, businesses, health care, foster care and more. One study indicates the cost of the drug epidemic is nearly 9 billion dollars a year in Ohio; and

WHEREAS, in response to the drug epidemic I released a RecoveryOhio plan to address twelve key initiatives Ohio will need to implement to combat the epidemic that fall under four topic areas: Prevention, Treatment, Criminal Justice and Recovery Supports; and

WHEREAS, Ohio’s substance use and mental health treatment and prevention policy, spending and administration is split across multiple state agencies has lacked coordination and a clear point of accountability; and

WHEREAS, the RecoveryOhio Plan calls for the need for a special position reporting to the Governor, who works every day with a single-minded focus of fighting the drug epidemic;

NOW THEREFORE, I, Mike DeWine, Governor of the State of Ohio, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and laws of this State do hereby order and direct that:

1.  The Governor’s RecoveryOhio Initiative (“RecoveryOhio”) is hereby created in order to carry out the immediate need to address the drug epidemic in Ohio and is charged to:

  1. Advance and coordinate substance abuse and mental health prevention, treatment and recovery support services at the local, state and federal levels.
  2. Engage private sector partners to align efforts to do the most good for Ohioans struggling with a mental illness or substance use disorder and their families.
  3. Initiate and guide enhancements to the behavioral health system to improve the patient’s experience during treatment and treatment outcomes.

2.  In order to carry out these responsibilities, I have appointed a Director of RecoveryOhio to oversee and implement all activities described above. In order to carry out these responsibilities the Director shall have the authority and discretion to employ and fix the compensation of RecoveryOhio personnel, who shall be in the unclassified civil service. The RecoveryOhio Director will be the appointing authority for the RecoveryOhio Initiative and will be responsible for making all employment decisions relating to the RecoveryOhio Initiative including, but not limited to, hiring, firing, disciplining, and promoting employees. In addition, the RecoveryOhio Director shall have the authority and discretion to establish the organizational structure of the RecoveryOhio Initiative.

3.  All Cabinet Agencies, Boards and Commissions shall comply with any requests or directives issued by the RecoveryOhio Director or the RecoveryOhio Director’s designee, subject to the supervision of their respective agency directors. This requirement extends, but is not limited to, the cabinet directors and employees of the following agencies and departments:

  1. Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services
  2. Ohio Department of Health
  3. Ohio Department of Medicaid
  4. Ohio Department of Job & Family Services
  5. Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction
  6. Ohio Department of Public Safety
  7. Ohio Department of Administrative Services
  8. Ohio Department of Youth Services
  9. Ohio Developmental Services Agency
  10. Ohio Department of Insurance
  11. Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation
  12. Ohio Office of Budget and Management
  13. Opportunities for Ohioans with Disabilities

4.  The RecoveryOhio Director shall have administrative authority over the Office of Health Transformation.

5.  As the RecoveryOhio Director deems necessary, the RecoveryOhio Initiative shall contract with state and/or private agencies for services in order to facilitate the implementation and operation of the RecoveryOhio responsibilities, based upon demonstrated experience and expertise in administration, management, data handling, quality assurance, grant writing or other necessary skills.

I signed this Executive Order on January 14, 2019 in Cedarville, Ohio and it will not expire unless it is rescinded.


Mike DeWine, Governor



Frank LaRose, Secretary of State