ST. CLOUD/SAUK RAPIDS  -- Improving our substance abuse programs in Minnesota is top priority for Department of Human Services Commissioner Emily Piper.

Piper visited two programs in the St. Cloud area Thursday, Journey Home and Recovery Plus Adolescent Programto see how each help those struggling with addiction. In the state's budget, Governor Mark Dayton has proposed additional funding to help run these programs. Piper says if she were struggling from substance abuse the hardest part about treatment would be leaving her children, this is why she supports the Journey Home Program.

"The program that I saw this [Thursday] morning serves mothers who are struggling with addiction and allows the mothers to keep their children with them while they are receiving treatment. I have four little kids and I think the biggest barriers to me for treatment would be leaving my family behind."

Piper says access to services for mothers with addiction ultimately helps the state because they get out of treatment and become successful members of society.

"To be able to take their children with them and know they are being cared for in a wonderful daycare and going to school is just a real value to the state of Minnesota and ultimately pays dividends when these moms get out, they're successful, their kids are happy, healthy and well taken care of."


Along with having more access to treatment programs, Piper is in support of providing more early intervention programs and improving support services for those who have finished treatment.

About one in 10 Minnesotans live with a substance use disorder but only 10 percent receive treatment.

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