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Opinion: St. Gabriel's a leader in opioid abuse prevention efforts

Ron Kresha

During the 2017 legislative session, opioid abuse prevention pilot projects to determine the cause of opioid abuse, as well as to allow hospitals to examine pain treatments beyond opioid prescriptions, were funded by the Legislature. In the months ahead, we will pursue additional legislation in order to further our current efforts fighting Minnesota's opioid crisis and reducing its devastating effects.

While we can authorize funding and enact policies in order to combat opioid abuse in the Legislature, these problems could not be solved were it not for the important work carried out by those that deal directly with these issues on a daily basis. With Opioid Awareness Day recently taking place at the Capitol, I wanted to emphasize the outstanding work being carried out by Little Falls' CHI St. Gabriel's Controlled Substance Care Team.

The Controlled Substance Care Team has been an early leader on the front lines in our state's opioid abuse prevention efforts. From opioid prescriptions and supply, to treatment and education, the group takes a broad approach to countering this crisis by focusing on all aspects of the problem.

The group's program first began a few years ago with physicians more closely monitoring the volume of opioids they were prescribing. By zeroing in on why unused opioids remain accessible, they have been able to greatly reduce the number of excess opioids that can be abused or sold by patients. More recently, the program has also focused on delivering treatment to individuals already battling addiction, including treatment drugs and counseling.

In addition to the commendable work they have carried out in our area in recent years, the program aims to make a difference across the state though its emphasis on educating other rural clinics. Through their adoption of "Project ECHO", the group has prioritized educating numerous clinics throughout Minnesota on strategies to combat opioid abuse and prevent these tragic deaths.

The much needed lift CHI St. Gabriel's team has provided has unquestionably made a difference in our communities. Their efforts exist as a model for our state's treatment clinics to replicate, and I want to thank them for the crucial steps they have taken towards countering opioid abuse and ultimately helping to save lives.

Rep. Ron Kresha, R-Little Falls, represents District 9B in the Minnesota House of Representatives