Morrison County seeing slight increase in chemical dependency assessments

by Jennie Zeitler, Staff Writer

 

There were 301 chemical dependency assessments and corresponding treatment performed in Morrison County in 2012. So far in 2013, there have been 171, a 5 percent increase, Morrison County Social Services Supervisor Paul Bukovich told the County Board, Tuesday.

“We are mandated by the state to offer chemical dependency services to the citizens of Morrison County,” Bukovich said. “Services include assessments and treatment.”

Bukovich described the two main drivers of the increase as increased use of methamphetamine and heroin.

“We’ve seen it trending the past couple years,” he said.

The majority of the cost of these services is covered by state funding, while Morrison County is responsible for 15 percent. In 2012, the total cost of chemical dependency services was $239,399, of which Morrison County paid $48,134.

The county is also responsible for covering the cost of detox placements. In 2012, $46,340 was spent by the county for detox for 74 people.

“Alcohol is the main drug of choice, at 48.2 percent,” said Bukovich. “Marijuana accounts for 19.3 percent.”

Detox admissions are done as a condition of probation in 43.4 percent of cases.

“Court involvement is a better lever to persuade people to obtain their sobriety,” Bukovich said.

Social Services Director Brad Vold explained that specialty courts are a more intensive intervention for certain behaviors.

“Morrison County has been trained to be a drug court since 2008,” Vold said. “It is a very good evidence-based program that showed good results.”

Although drug court was authorized in the county, the initiative died for lack of funding. Funding has recently been reinstated, and Social Services hopes to see it operating.

“People are more likely to remain sober as a result of drug court,” said Vold.

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Other business that came before the Morrison County Commissioners Tuesday included:

• Approving a permit request for the Labor Day Mud Fest event;

• Approving the internal posting for two Supervisor I positions in the financial unit of the Social Services unit;

• Approving a 2013 annual license for a new establishment owner at China Dragon Buffet in Little Falls;

• Approving annual liquor license renewals for Rice Creek Hunting and Recreation near Little Falls, The Castaway on Lake Alexander, the Genola Athletic Club and the Lakeview Store of Cushing;

• Approving the internal posting for a payroll specialist position in the auditor’s office;

• Approving a resolution for completion and final payment to Tri-City Paving of $4,404.57 for calcium chloride application around the county and to Consulting Engineering Services for completion and final payment of work done in the city of Pierz. The county served as the fiscal agent for the project; and

• Adopting a resolution in support of the inclusion of an I-94 west corridor expansion in Minnesota State Highway Investment Plan. “We’ve all been in preservation mode in contrast to being in reconstruction mode,” said Public Works Supervisor Steve Backowski. “We need to support transportation funding. The St. Cloud area is the fastest-growing in the state and they at least want this included in the 20-year plan.”

The next County Board meeting will be Tuesday, July 9 at 9 a.m. in the board room of the County Government Center.

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