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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Northern District of Ohio

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

U.S. Attorney Steven Dettelbach Honored For Efforts To Combat Heroin

“The compassionate work of the individuals and programs we honor are truly inspiring,”  remarked Harvey A. Snider, Esq., Board Chair, as nearly 350 guests witnessed the Alcohol, Drug Addiction and Mental Health Services (ADAMHS) Board of Cuyahoga County present awards during its Annual Meeting on Monday, May 19, 2014. “Their extraordinary contributions are helping children and adults with mental illness and addictions on their path to recovery.”

William M. Denihan, Chief Executive Officer, noted that “The actions of each of our recipients are helping to alleviate the stigma that is still too often associated with mental illness and addictions.  Their achievements embody what community treatment and support is all about.” 

The award recipients are: 

Addiction Treatment Professional of the Year – Dennis Madden, Chief Executive Officer of Stella Maris for melding his human services, advocacy and leadership experience to help people living with heroin and other substance abuse issues, playing a significant role in the discussion to bring more sober beds to Cuyahoga County and for helping Stella Maris achieve yet another level of excellence. 

Mental Health Professional of the Year - Barb Obiaya, Director of Family Support Services at the Achievement Centers for Children to honor her 38 years of experience assisting children and families cope and recover from mental illness, recognizing the importance of intervening as early as possible to take advantage of the critical developmental stages of children and educating others on the importance of this vulnerable age group.

Community Partner Collaboration Awards – Steven Dettelbach, US Attorney General for the Northern District of Ohio for his remarkable leadership and partnership with public systems to serve the community to end the heroin epidemic in Northeast Ohio by ensuring that there is a balance between the judicial system and the treatment system so that people abusing heroin will get the help they need, and that people selling this deadly drug will be taken off of the streets and for protecting children from the effects of violence through the Defending Childhood project.

Wally Clevenger for the tremendous amount of volunteer work he has exhibited in bringing young people who are in recovery from heroin addiction together to support one another and to share their stories with thousands of high school students about the consequences of heroin.

Rev. Dr. Howard Pippin, Jr., the pastor of Aldersgate United Methodist Church for making it clear that activities supportive of mental health and substance abuse recovery are welcome, striving to erase the stigma of mental health and addiction issues in the community and for promoting the relationship between spirituality and the recovery process.

Consumer/Client Involvement Award - Urban Goodness – a collaborative program of Connections; Health, Wellness, Advocacy that is a therapeutic community farming project operated by 20 people living with mental illness and/or substance abuse issues.

Family Involvement Award - Rob Brandt of Robby’s Voice for developing a prevention program to honor his son who died by heroin overdose and sharing their personal family story with the world in order to help others to not experience the same tragedy. 

Legislator of the Year: Local Level – Cleveland City Councilman Joe Cimperman for his willingness to publically share his family’s story of dealing with his mother’s bi-polar disorder and how it affected his family to help others understand the importance of treatment and support services.

Legislator of the Year Award: State Level – State Representative Nickie Antonio for her concern with the quality of life for all people, working for human rights and equality and advocating for mental health and addiction issues in the State Budget Mid-biennium Review.

Contract Agency Collaboration - Seasons of Hope operated by Hitchcock Center for Woman for its uniqueness in offering a place where women with alcohol or drug-addiction who are in distress can go for help without feeling ashamed or alienated, and receive information about treatment when they are ready and serving over 400 individual women through 640 visits.

Media Award - Rita Andolsen, ‎Director of Advocacy & Community Initiatives, WKYC TV3  for taking on the Heroin epidemic as one of the stations advocacy efforts and for organizing the “Heroin Epidemic, The Next Step” meeting consisting of representatives from the provider community, justice system and elected officials to discuss a strategy to combat heroin and for sitting on the Juvenile Safe Surrender planning committee.

Updated March 12, 2015