Mille Lacs Band Receives Grant to Address Opioid Crisis


Investments across the state will help communities reduce opioid use and opioid-related deaths

ST. PAUL, MN – Lieutenant Governor Tina Smith and Minnesota Department of Human Services (DHS) Commissioner Emily Piper visited Wayside Recovery Center in St. Louis Park Nov. 7 to announce $16.6 million in grants to combat the state’s opioid crisis.

The Mille Lacs Band will receive over $300,000 to support a number of initiatives, including planning, system development and integration of medical, chemical dependency, public health, social services and child welfare. Additional funds have been added to support the training and hiring of paraprofessionals to the care team.

The Band's Nenda-Noojimig (“Those ones who seek healing”) Mino Gigizheb (“It is a good morning”) will integrate a coordinated plan of care for Native American Indian community members, aged 18 or older, who self-identify as experiencing opioid use disorder (OUD).

The program will provide long-term coordinated care through improving access to culturally specific opioid disorder treatment, decreasing the current gaps in unmet treatment needs and reducing opioid related deaths through increased prevention, treatment and recovery efforts related to OUD.

The program will integrate a coordinated plan of care for Native American Indian community members, aged 18 or older, who self-identify as experiencing opioid use disorder (OUD).

The program will undertake an assessment to develop a blueprint for opioid community response that will create an action plan on how to implement strategies to decrease the burden of opioid misuse, abuse and overdose in the MLBO community, address public awareness, provider education, and access to treatment.

At Wayside Recovery Center, Lt. Governor Smith and Commissioner Piper learned firsthand from providers and patients alike about the runaway epidemic that is opioid misuse. The grants will be awarded over the next three years to more than 30 agencies across the state including tribal governments, counties and community organizations.

“Opioid overdoses deaths have increased in Minnesota by 430 percent since 2000. These Minnesotans were our friends, neighbors, and family members,’” said Lt. Governor Tina Smith. “These new grants will help more Minnesotans all across the state get the assistance they need before it’s too late. In the 2018 Legislative Session, our Administration will continue to urge the Legislature to make additional resources available for Minnesotans in need.”

The grants aim to address the opioid crisis through prevention, treatment and recovery programs for substance use disorder, including prescription opioids and illicit drugs such as heroin. According to the Minnesota Department of Health, in 2008, less than ten Minnesotans died from heroin overdose. In 2015, that number had grown to 115, and in 2016, 142. In 2016, 2,450 total opioid overdoses were reported, including 376 deaths.

“This funding is critical to all our efforts to stop the terrible damage we’ve seen to individuals, families, and communities,” said Commissioner Piper. “Minnesota—like the rest of the nation—is in the middle of an opioid crisis. No one needs to die of opioid overdose; too many lives have been lost already.”

Wayside Recovery Center has received $721,800 to expand their peer recovery program, create a program that offers a bridge for women coming out of incarceration, and serve as consultation hub that will enhance training for medical professionals to treat people with opioid use disorders.

“We are excited to receive these grants, because it will allow us to reach even more women and give them the access to treatment they need,” said Dr. Jessie Everts, Vice President of Clinical Programs at Wayside Recovery Center. “We need to offer them a variety of resources and tools, because recovery looks different to everyone.”

The grants will supplement ongoing proven effective substance use disorder services across Minnesota, as well as offer new and innovative approaches. Grant activities will include:

· Expanding medication-assisted treatment, in both the number of providers and their geographic reach.

· Medication-assisted treatment combines behavioral therapy and medications to treat substance use disorders

· Making it easier and faster for people to receive a substance use disorder for treatment services.

· Increasing opioid-specific peer recovery and care coordination

· Piloting the Parent Child Assistance Program, a peer support program for pre- and post-natal mothers

· Expanding access to naloxone, a drug that serves as an immediate life-saving antidote to opioid overdose, for opioid treatment programs and emergency medical service teams

· Launching “Fast-Tracker,” a website showing real-time treatment bed availability.

These opioid grants are the result of two grants to DHS from the federal government, secured by Minnesota’s congressional delegation, led by Senator Amy Klobuchar and Senator Al Franken. These funds will be supplement by other state and federal dollars. This summer, a two-year, $10.6 Million “State Targeted Response to the Opioid Crisis” grant was awarded to the state to increase access to treatment, reduce unmet treatment need and reduce opioid overdose related deaths.

In September, a $2 million per year, three-year grant was awarded to Minnesota to expand Medication-Assisted Therapy through the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA). Signed into law in July 2016, CARA expands prevention and education efforts while also promoting treatment and recovery.