New treatment center in Chaska

  • Article by: TOM MEERSMAN , Star Tribune
  • Updated: February 28, 2012 - 7:29 PM

Hazelden wants its outpatient clinics to be closer to where people live and work.

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Hazelden Foundation's Chaska center

Photo: Stormi Greener, Star Tribune

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The Hazelden Foundation will open its doors at a new clinic in Chaska Thursday, with services that will include intensive outpatient programs, chemical dependency assessments and mental health services.

The nonprofit health care organization specializes in helping people overcome drug and alcohol addiction. Its programs treat substance abuse through therapy, education, support groups, family programs and other methods.

The Chaska clinic is also the first of Hazelden's clinics to offer services to adolescents as young as 12 years old -- its others serve youth 14 and older.

"Going down to age 12 allows us to work with an under-served population of kids that we may be able to reach out to sooner than later, prior to a full-blown dependency," said Terri Hayden, executive director of Hazelden in St. Paul.

Hazelden's main facility in Center City, Minn., has offered residential and outpatient programs for more than 60 years.

Hazelden has clinics elsewhere, including the western suburbs of Plymouth and Maple Grove.

Hayden said the Chaska location is a good fit because it can serve adults and youth from surrounding communities, including Eden Prairie, Minnetonka, Waconia and Chanhassen.

Hazelden's strategy is to make it more convenient for people to continue treatment begun in its residential programs, or to seek help for the first time.

"One of our goals is to make access to treatment as easy as possible," Hayden said, "so that people can continue to live their lives on a daily basis and incorporate recovery into their lives."

That may mean four nights a week of intensive outpatient treatment, she said, followed eventually by one night a week of continuing care.

Chaska City Administrator Matt Podhradsky said the community is delighted that Hazelden is opening the new clinic.

The location is about a mile from Ridgeview's Two Twelve Medical Center, which opened last February to offer emergency and urgent care and other services outside of a hospital setting.

"There's definitely been a flourishing of activity in the medical field here in Chaska," Podhradsky said. "It's been our hope that we could become a medical hub in the southwest metro area, and we really hope that things keep growing."

Hayden said that Hazelden's growth does not mean that those who live in the western suburbs have more addiction problems than those who live elsewhere.

Rather, she said, it more likely shows that the "stigma of addiction" is decreasing, and that more people are upfront about seeking help.

That includes younger adolescents, Hayden said, who are experimenting with alcohol and drugs. Earlier intervention may prevent more serious problems from developing as they move through their teenage years, she said.

Another trend is that health insurers are covering more people with addiction and mental health problems, Hayden said.

"Insurance is working hard to help people go to the level of care that they clinically need," she said.

Hazelden's clinic in Maple Grove, which opened last May, already has reached capacity, Hayden said.

The organization also announced plans last year for a $30 million expansion at its Center for Youth and Families in Plymouth, which includes residential treatment.

The Chaska clinic is opening for adults on Thursday and for adolescents on April 1.

Hayden said the program can serve up to 20 adults and 16 adolescents on an outpatient basis. Outpatient programs also include once-a-week meetings where patients bring a friend or family member who can learn about the treatment and how to support it.

The facility will employ 10 to 15 workers, and it has the capacity to expand if needed.

It is located on the third floor of the Hazeltine Gates building at 1107 Hazeltine Blvd.

Tom Meersman • 612-673-7388

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