Daystar Treatment Center opens today in former Refuge building in Detroit Lakes, but will serve men, not women
“It was not unusual to see 20 overdose deaths a week in Huntington, (West Virginia)” said the new Daystar assistant program director, who grew up in West Virginia and worked in addiction treatment there. “West Virginia is the heart of the opioid epidemic you hear of.”
One of the two new women’s treatment centers in Detroit Lakes has decided to become a men's treatment center instead, and will serve men exclusively when it opens Monday, March 15.
Located in the renovated Refuge building on Eighth Street, Daystar Treatment Center will now use its 15 beds to house men -- just like its sister residential treatment program, the 15-bed Compassion House, half a block west.
“We initially started with the plan to provide treatment for women,” said Marie Booth, the new assistant program director at Daystar. “As we were going through the process, we determined there was an even greater need for male treatment beds. We decided to expand what’s going on at Compassion House and bring it over here.”
There will be some slight differences between the programs at Compassion House and Daystar. “We are able to take clients also taking medication-assisted treatment,” she said, as well as clients on certain controlled medications for mental illness that would not be eligible at Compassion House.
Daystar is also built on one level, so people with physical disabilities can get treatment there, said Anderson Saint Georges, program director at Compassion House and Daystar Recovery Center.
Daystar will have a staff of 10, almost all full-timers, said Booth. “I’m really excited about the people I have hired -- they’re really passionate about the field,” she said.
There will be little if any sharing of staff between Daystar and Compassion House, although there may be one shared employee.
Daystar is licensed to treat substance abuse only, not mental illness, but “we will work with local mental health partners,” when needed, Booth said. “Counselors here will provide education to clients on the importance of continued care, and of taking care of their mental health in general,”she added.
Clients will stay 30 to 90 days or more, depending on client need. The program will serve men between the ages of 18 and 75.
Daystar will offer high- to medium-intensity residential treatment, which of course includes room and board. High-Intensity residential treatment programs usually provide at least 30 hours of treatment services weekly, while medium-intensity programs offer between 15 and 30 hours of treatment services.
Daystar is planning on a relaxed opening to give staff time to get acclimated. “We have referrals, but we’re taking it slow to train staff,” Saint Georges said. “We don’t want to overwhelm them,” Booth added.
“Recovery in action” is the treatment model at Compassion House and Daystar, Saint Georges said.
“We make sure everyone practices coping skills, and we model positive behavior.” He is a great believer in getting clients out of the building, be it fishing or disc golfing or exercising at the Detroit Lakes Community Center, he said.
It helps when the community is willing to give people the benefit of the doubt, he said. “We need to end the stigma and give people a second chance,” he said.
“It’s important not to just discount someone by the way they look or talk or even their previous actions, particularly someone trying to work a program of recovery,” Booth added. “It’s important we show grace.”
She knows a bit about grace: Booth grew up the daughter of a Baptist minister in Huntington, W.Va., a Moorhead-sized city that has been ravaged by the opioid epidemic.
“It was not unusual to see 20 overdose deaths a week in Huntington,” she said. “West Virginia is the heart of the opioid epidemic you hear of,” she added. Booth spent nine years working in medication-assisted treatment there. In all, she has worked for about 12 years in substance abuse and another eight years in mental health treatment. She moved to Minnesota about five years ago, and started work at Daystar Recovery Center on Feb. 15.
With all its challenges, Booth clearly loves working with people fighting to overcome addiction. “There comes a time in treatment, you can see it in their eyes -- something just clicks,” she said. “They get it, and they genuinely want to maintain this change in their life.”