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Minnesota - 3rd Worst in Drug and Alcohol Treatment

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posted 06:09 AM EST, Mon January 21, 2008
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Once a recognized leader in substance abuse treatment and prevention, Minnesota now ranks 47th on numbers receiving drug treatment.

Once a recognized leaded in addiction treatment, a recently released Minnesota State Health and Human Services report ranks Minnesota 47th in numbers of adults receiving addiction treatment (per capita), with only Arkansas and Texas faring worse.

Minnesota has more than 387 000 people needing drug treatment and only about 7% of these are getting the care they need.

Michael Schiks, a 30 year veteran of the drug treatment war, most of that time spent with the very respected Hazelden Foundation, isn’t surprised.

He credits Minnesota's funding shrinkage to the current drop in rankings, and explains that for someone to be eligible for state funded drug treatment; they need to be earning less than $4.90 per hour. A majority of state workers fall into the underinsured but ineligible for funded support category, as a result of these stringent funding regulations.

He also blames a shortsighted policy in which Minnesota residents are allocated treatment funding based on the severity of the disease progression, a policy he equates to letting cancer patients wait until the disease has reached its last stages before providing treatment.

Schick explains that such shortsighted funding policies do nothing to reduce overall expenses, pointing to established statistics that indicate that every dollar spent on drug treatment equates to a several dollar societal savings.

On a positive note, he points to certain recent developments, such as an increase in drug court treatment sentencing and an overall increase in the treatment focus of the criminal justice system, as bright lights in an overall very poor state wide substance abuse treatment performance.

With 93% of Minnesotan adults in need of treatment, out of treatment, small points of optimism don’t counter such a dismal state wide performance.

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