Northeast Metro 916 and Hazelden to offer addiction counseling to students, families
In the 2016-17 school year, Northeast Metro 916 and the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation will begin a first-of-its-kind chemical health program designed to provide prevention, education, assessment, placement and ongoing support for students who are struggling with substance abuse and addiction.
Dan Porter, the school district’s lead social worker who partnered with Hazelden to author the grant that funded the program, says that chemical health treatment is crucial to address underlying mental health concerns that can prevent students from learning to their full potential. “Through our partnership with Hazelden, we will be able to better understand why students engage in substance use and abuse so we can prevent it,” he said. “Our goal is to teach students successful coping strategies so we can keep them safe and productive in and out of the classroom.”
Hazelden is one of the nation’s leading providers of prevention, education and treatment for young people and families affected by the disease of addiction. This unique program could serve as a model for other school districts across the nation.
“We are very excited and honored to have the opportunity to work with [Northeast Metro 916] students, staff, and families; and offer support and education in the area of chemical health to encourage, promote, and foster better decisions for students,” said Mark Sheets, executive director of the Youth Continuum at Hazelden in a letter to the school district. “We appreciate your partnership.”
The program is funded by the Medica Foundation, which supports community-based programs and services; and by the F.R. Bigelow Foundation, which supports programs that help strengthen and enhance the quality of life in the Saint Paul area.
Northeast Metro 916 is one of three intermediate school districts in Minnesota, serving approximately 4,000 students through shared programming that includes career and technical education, special education services, area learning centers and elementary education.