WALKER -- Cass County's Consolidated Chemical Dependency Treatment fund may be in financial trouble for the first time this year if current trends continue, said Social Services Supervisor Frank Schaap.
He told the county board Tuesday that Cass will receive $308,798 and Leech Lake Reservation $559,544 in state funds this year for chemical dependency treatment.
The county contributes a 15 percent match for funds received, he said.
Costs for doing alcohol assessments and providing treatment are rising, Schaap said.
In 1997, 200 people went through a chemical dependency assessment here. That increased to 271 last year and is expected to reach 324 this year, based on the number completed the first three months of 2000, Schaap said.
Historically, 80 percent of assessments are court ordered, with the balance of people referred by social workers, mental health workers, physicians or coming for services voluntarily, he said.
In 1998, 70 people were place into treatment programs after receiving an assessment. Last year, there were 95, he said.
Some went into Change Directions Program Alcoholics Anonymous, individual counseling, DWI classes, alcohol problems lectures, alcohol abuse programs or Bridges Program. Only 10 received no referral at all, he said.
The state mandates counties provide treatment, said Schaap.
On average, 10 percent of the population is chemically dependent, he said. A third of those treated will recover after a first treatment. Another third may recover after a second treatment program.
The final third may never recover from chemical dependencies, he said.
Four times as many chemically dependent people are alcoholics as those dependent upon all the other drugs, he said.
Those qualifying for treatment under the county-state funded programs generally are low- to moderate-income people, based on an income scale, Schaap said. By the time people enter treatment often much of their income is gone, he said.
Part of the treatment cost increase here is due to a rise in drunk driving charges and convictions. There are more drivers on the road every year, Schaap said, so more potential for some of them to drive drunk.
Cass County District Court records show a 48 percent rise in misdemeanor DWI cases filed in the last six years. Gross misdemeanor (repeat offender) charges increased 156 percent.
The number of people being found guilty or pleading guilty to misdemeanor DWI rose 115 percent those years, with gross misdemeanor convictions rising 189 percent.
On a related issue, Schaap said detoxification services are expected to be available for southern Cass residents at Brainerd beginning in July.
Until then, all Cass residents needing detoxification must be transported to Pine Manor near Park Rapids.
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