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Ohio mental health, addiction agencies to merge

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Ohio's agencies for mental health services and for alcohol and drug addiction are merging into one entity.

The combined department will include more than 460 alcohol, drug and gambling addiction prevention and treatment providers, 400 community mental health agencies and six regional psychiatric hospitals.

The merger of the Ohio Department of Mental Health and the Ohio Department of Alcohol and Drug Addiction Services becomes effective Monday as part of the state's just passed two-year budget.

The new Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services will have about 2,400 employees and a budget of $698 million next year and $687 million in 2015.

Mark Hurst, the new agency's medical director, says combining treatment for addiction and mental illness makes sense since both are brain diseases.

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