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Detroit Lakes recovery center CEO appointed to Gov. Walz's opioids and substance abuse advisory council

Anderson Saint Georges, chief executive officer of Daystar Recovery Center in Detroit Lakes, was appointed to Gov. Tim Walz's advisory council on opioids, substance use and addiction, according to a Nov. 29 news release from the governor's office. Saint Georges will serve a four-year term on the council, which will begin Jan. 3.

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Anderson Saint Georges smiles for a photograph outside the Capitol in St. Paul.
Contributed / Anderson Saint Georges / Together Magazine
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DETROIT LAKES — The chief executive officer of Daystar Recovery Center in Detroit Lakes was appointed to Gov. Tim Walz's advisory council on opioids, substance use and addiction, according to a Nov. 29 news release.

Anderson Saint Georges, and 17 other Minnesotans from across the state, were named to the council which will identify opportunities, solutions and barriers to implementing expanded access to addiction services in the state.

"I'm deeply honored to be able to represent the Detroit Lakes area and beyond, and be able to advocate for the recovery community and continue working on the opioid settlement," said Saint George. "Housing, transportation and the workforce crisis ... many people actually graduate treatment successfully, but they don't have access to housing and when you are dealing with the opioid crisis and overdose, and treatment ... it basically jeopardizes their sobriety."

Saint Georges added transportation to a workplace only a couple miles away can be troublesome for the recovery community, especially during the winter, for those who may not have a valid driver's license, which leads those individuals to drive without one and potentially violate the terms of their probation. He said strong public transit options are a necessity for the recovering community.

The advisory council will report to, and advise, the governor's sub-cabinet concerning opioids, substance use and addiction. Both entities were formed following an executive order signed by Gov. Walz in April 2022.

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"The Advisory Council, along with the recently appointed addiction and recovery director, will provide valuable insight from a variety of perspectives, including those with lived experiences and those from communities that are disproportionately impacted by addiction," Walz said in a news release. "This partnership will work to ensure that individuals at all stages of recovery, and their families, have a voice to improve access to the resources they need."

Saint Georges also said addressing addiction and recovery is a pathway toward teaching coping skills to addicts, so they can reunite with family members and hopefully build a stronger familial environment and support network for their sustained recovery.

"If we can give them the coping skills they need, they can go home and instill some other values," said Saint Georges. He also added much of the conversation around addiction and stereotyping stigmas need to be changed at a societal level. Tattooed individuals, felons and those in a recovery program are not bad people, he said, and they should be given every chance to prove themselves and live meaningful lives without associations to drugs.

The council will also examine addiction service equity among Minnesota's BIPOC communities.

"Minnesota continues to fight against the growing opioids crisis, especially in our Native and Black communities that are disproportionately affected. I am grateful to these community leaders for partnering with our Administration, and with their unique professional and personal experiences, leadership, and dedication to this work, we will be better poised to create more effective solutions," said Lt. Gov. Peggy Flanagan, in a statement. "I look forward to seeing what this Council will accomplish over the next four years."

Lead Multimedia Reporter for the Detroit Lakes Tribune and the Perham Focus.
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