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Compassion House plans 2,200-square-foot expansion, consolidation with Daystar Recovery Center

Compassion House of Detroit Lakes, which offers addiction treatment services, is looking to expand its facility by 2,200-square feet and consolidate with Daystar Recovery Center.

Compassion House is located on 8th Street in Detroit Lakes.
Compassion House is located on 8th Street in Detroit Lakes.
Detroit Lakes Tribune file photo
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DETROIT LAKES — Compassion House and Daystar Recovery Center are looking to combine forces in Detroit Lakes. A planned 2,200-square-foot expansion would allow the two substance abuse treatment programs to be housed under one roof.

According to a Detroit Lakes Planning Commission permit application, the programs want to combine their staffs and treatment options into an expanded Compassion House building.

Anderson Saint Georges, chief executive officer for both Compassion House and Daystar Recovery Center, said combining the centers will help with staffing issues and afford their clients better individualized treatment options.

CompassionHouse23EDIT.jpg
Preliminary designs for a 2,200-square-foot addition to the Compassion House in Detroit Lakes.
Contributed / Detroit Lakes Planning Commission

Currently, Compassion House is located at 811 8th Street in Detroit Lakes, and Daystar is located in a separate nearby building at 921 8th Street.

"The goal for the future is to...merge them together under one roof," said Saint Georges. "We'll be able to have all the clients and all the staff under one roof, and not pay bills for both facilities, and try to hire staff for both facilities."

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He also said medically assisted clients — those weening off of opioids by using prescribed medications like Suboxone — qualify for programs through Daystar Treatment Services.

"Some of those clients are court ordered, some of those clients are taking medications to manage their cravings, so those are the clients we'll work with at Daystar," said Saint Georges. "We're going to have 28 beds and our program is actually one-of-a-kind."

The program, called Recovery in Action, provides volunteering opportunities, events and other community activities for clients currently undergoing treatment.

"Most of our clients who come to treatment, we make sure that they practice the coping skills that they learned in treatment as we take them to Frisbee golf, we take them fishing, we take them to the DLCCC (Detroit Lakes Community and Cultural Center), so they can be involved in the community and also not feel like treatment is a punishment," said Saint Georges. " (They are) learning to be productive members of society and be involved, and instill a sense of pride."

He believes that by having his clients participate in events around the community, it could begin to reduce the negative stigmatization of drug use and addiction.

"We all know someone who drinks too much, or uses drugs too much and copes with their trauma by using drugs," he said. "It's just a bad path, it's not a bad person."

He also stressed how important individualized treatment plans are at the facilities.

"When (new clients) come, they choose what they want to work on and our counselors just walk alongside of them," said Saint Georges. "Treatment is not prison. Treatment is not jail. It's a place to restructure yourself, learn to cope with your emotions and learn to live your life without using drugs."

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Both facilities are looking for staff members. While the employment market is tight for all employers, he said, both Compassion House and Daystar are looking for licensed alcohol and drug counselors and other various positions for the facilities, and any interested parties should reach out through the group's website or call 218-844-5782.

compassionhouse25EDIT.jpg
Preliminary designs for a 2,200-square-foot addition to the Compassion House in Detroit Lakes.
Contributed / Detroit Lakes Planning Commission
compassionhouse24EDIT.jpg
Preliminary designs for a 2,200-square-foot addition to the Compassion House in Detroit Lakes.
Contributed / Detroit Lakes Planning Commission

According to preliminary data from the Minnesota Department of Health , in 2020, there was one opioid overdose death in Becker County; there were also 23 non-fatal overdoses across the county, which is an increase from 13 in 2019, and 5 in 2018. Of the 23 non-fatal overdoses in 2020, about half were from opioids, excluding heroin, and the other half were from heroin itself.

Eleven of the 23 non-fatal overdose emergency room trips were for individuals between 25 and 34 years old, and nearly 70% were male.

The most common way people access opioids is through a medical prescription, according to the health department. The agency also noted the number of opioid prescriptions issued in Becker County has steadily decreased since 2016, from 22,989 in 2016 to 14,330 in 2020.

A public hearing on the Compassion House and Daystar expansion plans will be held during the next Detroit Lakes Planning Commission meeting on May 26 at 5:30 p.m. The city council is expected to take up the issue during its meeting on June 14.

Multimedia News Lead Reporter
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