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Bemidji Area Opiate Programs gather with Candidate John Persell to craft common response to Opiate Crisis

On Thursday September 20, 2018 Opiate Programs from throughout Beltrami and Cass Counties will meet to craft a common strategy allowing them to build on each other’s efforts toward alleviating the impact of the Opiate Crisis in locally. Opiate use has caused Red Lake and White Earth to declare Opiate Emergencies and Beltrami County to rethink their child welfare funding strategies in the face of skyrocketing case loads. Participants will represent strategies ranging from harm reduction and reducing opiate overdose deaths, through medication-assisted and long range treatment programs. Also invited are Beltrami County, Minnesota Department of Corrections, Prime West Pre-paid plan, Red Lake Indian Health Service, as well as programs from Leech Lake, Red Lake and White Earth.

During the session, candidate for District 5A Representative John Persell will meet with the chemical health professionals in his District to learn about treatment efforts and find out how legislation may be affecting them. District 5A includes Chemical Health Programs in both the Bemidji and the Cass Lake areas. Former Representative Persell has long been concerned about chemical health and recovery. He has shown special interest in local homeless inebriates and particularly about homeless veterans. The Minnesota Continuum of Care Pilot was authorized by the more recent legislative session. In 2015 he received the MARRCH (chemical health professional association) legislator of the year award for his work on rationalizing Duty to Warn legislation that protects the public and professionals when clients become dangerous.

Other topics of the meeting will include updates on changes in services funded by the State of Minnesota and on developing programs such as the crisis center. The new services were developed out of the Minnesota Continuum of Care pilots held at Red Lake and White Earth over the previous two years.

The meeting will start with socializing at 8:30 A.M in the Board Room, Sanford Behavioral Health (formerly Upper Mississippi Mental Health Center), 722 15th Street NW., Bemidji, MN 56601, The business meeting will start at 9 AM and run to 11 AM. The review of opiate programs will start early in the business meeting.

The meeting is sponsored by Northern Access a social services collaborative which has been meeting bi-monthly for over five years. Northern Access is a coalition of local chemical and mental health programs, Beltrami County, Prime West PCO and Minnesota Department of Corrections regional Probation office. Further information on Northern Access is available in the attached “What is Northern Access?” and “Northern Access Accomplishments”.

For further information about the meeting contact or Lance Egley at (218) 679-3995 or

Who: John Persell, District 5A, Minnesota House of Representatives Candidate, Lance Egley, Region One Governor, MARRCH Professional Association, and Chemical Health Treatment Programs within District 5A including Bemidji Area Program for Recovery, Red Lake MARS and Baby Be Well programs, Leech Lake Opiate Program, Oshki Manidoo, First Steps for Health Babies, Restore House, and Upper Mississippi Mental Health Center.

What: Discussion of local and state issues affecting access to chemical health

treatment in Northern Minnesota.

When: Thursday September 20, 2018 8:30 A.M – 11:00 A.M.

Where: the Board Room, Sanford Behavioral Health (formerly Upper Mississippi Mental Health Center), 722 15th Street NW., Bemidji, MN 56601


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