The Family Services and Treatment levy, or FST, funds vital mental health services and drug prevention and treatment services for those currently incarcerated or with criminal records. It provides judges at sentencing with alternatives to jail time, thus preserving already-limited jail space for more serious offenders.
The services funded by this levy make communities safer by effectively reducing crime related to drug addiction and mental health issues. Now more than ever this levy is crucial, as the use of heroine in the Greater Cincinnati area has skyrocketed. (Over the last 15 years, opioid use has risen 643 percent, according to a report by the Ohio Department of Health.)
The levy, which is a renewal of an existing levy, will cost the owner of a $100,000 home a mere $10.20 per year, the same rate that is paid now. It will raise $6 million a year for five years and fund programs at the Talbert House, along with residential treatment programs for inmates, a 10-day DUI program and drug screening, assessment, treatment and aftercare services.
It is cost effective as well: Because the funding works to treat and prevent drug abuse or mental health issues, it significantly reduces the consumption of county resources over time. If the levy was to fail, families and those seeking a way out of addiction and the cycle of crime and poverty that addiction brings would be left with far fewer resources.