The attitude towards our fellow citizens whom are struggling with addiction for fifty years has been to punish them with jailtime for their use of substances. This so-called War on Drugs has lead to millions of otherwise law abiding people having their lives upended due to these policies. Many times, addicts themselves wish they could get the help they need, but know that if they ask for help they’ll simply be arrested. There has been a recent turn, however, towards less punitive and more wholistic treatment for addiction. One of the organizations on the forefront of this movement is the Minnesota Adult and Teen Challenge (MNTC), headquartered here in Minneapolis.
This Saturday, June 12, MNTC is celebrating the opening of an expanded Freedom Manor which treats women who have children and are struggling with addiction. One of the biggest barriers to getting treatment for women is the question “What do I do with my kids?”, especially if the patient’s support system is lacking family or close friends. This expanded facility seeks to remove that barrier to health. The newly expanded 78 bed residential facility will have space for children to stay one to two nights a week to visit with their mothers who are struggling with addiction.
“I’m just grateful that I’m still able to see my kids while I’m able to get help in transforming my life,” Christine Lewis said in an interview with WCCO Channel 4. This expansion of the facility is being fully funded by donations made to MNTC, as the community understands the importance of supporting those who struggle with addiction.
“Addiction really just is something that every person faces, whether it’s personally or a loved one,” said Tracy Ronning to WCCO who serves as director of outpatient clinical Services.
With so many of our fellow citizens struggling with addiction after a year of lockdowns and isolation, it is encouraging to see more programs like these being developed throughout the Great Lakes area. Criminalizing people who need addiction treatment clearly has not worked, and finally after half a century of war and imprisonment, perhaps it is finally time to start treating this terrible disease with compassion.
If you or someone you know is struggling with addiction, there are resources to help listed below:
National Addiction Recovery Hotline: 1-800-662-HELP