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The Minnesota Department of Human Services (DHS) placed Specialized Treatment Services (STS) on a three-year conditional license and ordered it to pay a $1,200 fine. The orders are a result of STS’ failure to comply with policies and procedures related to the dispensing of methadone.
STS, which operates chemical dependency treatment centers in Minneapolis, was cited for inappropriately authorizing adjustments of methadone doses, inappropriately giving a take-home dose of methadone, using pre-signed authorization forms and failure to have a registered nurse in the position of nursing supervisor. More information about STS is available on the DHS Licensing Lookup.
“Methadone is a controlled substance and its use for the treatment of chemical dependency must be monitored carefully,” said Inspector General Jerry Kerber. “The Department of Human Services takes its responsibility to regulate clinics providing this service very seriously.”
Methadone, which is used to treat withdrawal symptoms associated with heroin and opiate addiction, is a Schedule II narcotic. Orders for its use and dispensing of the medication are governed by state and federal regulations. Failure to comply with these regulations can place the safety of the client and the public at risk.
A rise in heroin and opiate abuse, including prescription drug abuse, in Minnesota over the last several years has led to an increase in methadone services. DHS is currently reviewing its policies regarding regulation and payment of methadone services, and will be working with the Legislature in the coming session to heighten oversight and provide proper incentives for methadone providers to treat patients more effectively.
DHS is also addressing the issue of substance abuse in the recently issued Minnesota State Substance Abuse Strategy (PDF), which calls for immediate action to address heroin and opiate addiction. Commissioners from DHS and the departments of Health and Public Safety have visited communities across the state to gather input on the strategy.