As told by David Dingman
David Dingman is the Executive Director for Golden Valley Treatment Services.
I have spent my career in the field of behavioral health, primarily in addiction treatment. Many folks see their friends, family members and neighbors who struggle with this disease. There are options to improve outcomes.
As recently reported:“Last year, 153 people in Hennepin County died of opioid-related deaths, compared with 110 in 2015 — a 39 percent increase, according to updated numbers released Friday by the Sheriff’s Office.”
Our population seeks treatment on the journey to recovery. This disease impacts the older and young, male and female and all ethnic groups. Meet James and Anne, two individuals who are in treatment.
James and Anne are a young couple. They travel 45 minutes seven days per week to Golden Valley Treatment Services. James is a welder and Anne would like to become a nurse. They are both in their early 20’s. They work together to remain healthy and be productive members of our community.
James was 13 when he started drinking and smoking weed. He was 18 when he started doing pills. He was on a course consistent with many other young people. As time progressed things got worse.
He found himself in jail and was court ordered to go to an outpatient program. This was a wake-up call.
Anne’s experience started out when she was about ten. Her mom gave her Percocet so she would not hear her coughing. She later began to take more pills.
“I went to a sober school. I made them think that I didn’t take any pills. After high school my grandpa died and that really set off my addiction with pills.”
The young couple, together, realized that they had an opportunity for a healthier life.
“We talked about going to methadone clinic and trying to get sober. I got in trouble again for drinking. I heard about Golden Valley Treatment Services from my friend. I could not stop getting high after I got out of jail. Ever since I started going there I got sober,” James said.
Anne knew that they could lead a healthier life:
“We talked about the methadone program. Once James started it was a huge transformation for him. I was tired of the drugs.
20 days later I decided that it was time for me to quit”
Their program is a daily commitment:
They travel to the clinic daily. Once a week they meet with their counselors. They work on values and goals. They will soon start group therapy. They are examples of what it takes. It is a combination of viable treatment options, caring counselors and folks who are committed to their own health and wellness. They are unique as they work their programs together.
“We keep each other going.
“I thought that I could not be happy sober. I am much happier now. People have noticed and say you seem 100 percent happier now. I go out and do more things now. My money is not only going to pills. I actually have things that I like now.”
Our program is in an outpatient setting in Golden Valley. It includes medication assisted treatment (MAT), counseling and group therapy. We are able to work closely with individuals as they recover. Importantly, our full continuum of care means that people can enter programs on a schedule and in an environment that works with their life – be it outpatient, residential or transitional living. (in other locations)
Like us, there are others who provide options in this region. I ask that we all work together to improve statistics and healthy lives for people like James and Anne. Where there is treatment there is hope. Let’s make 2017 a better year and save more lives together.