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Substance use disorder treatment reform proposal will help more Minnesotans on path to recovery

Commissioner visits CentraCare treatment programs in St. Cloud area

3/9/2017 11:33:47 AM

Media inquiries only
Sarah Berg

Approximately 1 in 10 Minnesotans live with a substance use disorder but only about 10 percent of those who need treatment receive it in a given year. Gov. Mark Dayton is proposing changes this session that will help more Minnesotans get treatment by improving access, providing early intervention and strengthening comprehensive supportive services after treatment.

Today, Human Services Commissioner Emily Piper visited two CentraCare Health substance use disorder programs in the St. Cloud area that illustrate the benefits of treatment that focuses on the whole person, including primary care, mental health treatment and peer support, in addition to substance abuse disorder treatment.

“Minnesota has long been a national leader in treatment services. However, we also know there are significant weaknesses in the system that need to be addressed,” said Piper. “The governor’s budget proposal strengthens the continuum of care by ensuring timely access to treatment, offering a wider range of services to meet individual needs, and reaching more people with the right level of care.”

The Journey Home Program in Sauk Rapids works with chemically dependent women and their children to meet a wide range of needs from treatment and recovery support to daily living skills, mental and physical health, and parenting education. The Recovery Plus Adolescent Program in St. Cloud provides residential substance abuse treatment and outpatient services for adolescents with alcohol and substance abuse problems who also have other mental health issues.

“Our services are designed to help people get off and stay off drugs and alcohol,” said David Hartford, section director for Behavioral Services at CentraCare Health. “Substance use disorder treatment is critical, but for people to be successful, we must also consider the range of needs of each person.” 

The 2017 substance use disorder treatment reform effort follows a multi-year process of planning and community engagement. It started with a legislative mandate in 2012, leading to community input from across the state, and finally, in the summer of 2016, providers and the community coming to the table to work together to find solutions. The resulting report, Minnesota’s Plan for the Prevention, Treatment and Recovery of Addiction (PDF), calls for transforming our state’s treatment system from a “one-and-done” model to seeing chemical dependency as a chronic disease needing ongoing, comprehensive care integrated with the rest of health care. 

“Our reform efforts are designed to not only improve outcomes, but to also ensure program sustainability and invest our scarce resources wisely,” said Piper. “Having an effective and efficient treatment system that reaches the most people is important because treatment is in high demand – there were over 50,000 admissions to treatment programs in Minnesota last year – and we know treatment is cost-effective and treatment works.”

The governor’s substance use disorder proposal is expected to save $569,000 in the FY 2018-19 biennium. More information about the proposal is available on the /dhs/media/fact-sheets/index.jspsession fact sheets archive page on the DHS website.

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