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Essentia Health receives $523,000 grant to treat opioid use disorder

The use of medications for opioid use disorder has helped the healthcare system reduce long-term opioid prescriptions by half since 2014.

Essentia Health Park Rapids Hwy. 34 Clinic
Park Rapids Enterprise file photo
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Essentia Health’s primary care clinics in Park Rapids, Walker and Baxter have expanded access to medication for opioid use disorder (OUD) thanks to a grant totaling more than $523,000.

The grant is funded at least in part through the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration and the Minnesota Department of Human Services.

According to a press release from Essentia Health, the healthcare system will use these State Opioid Response grant funds to treat OUD and other substance use disorders in rural communities. There are seven providers within the three clinics.

In addition, the release states, the funds will aid Essentia in conducting research, assessing social determinants of health and increasing referrals to treatment and recovery programs, as well as other community organizations.

The substance abuse crisis affecting the region was exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, the release states. In Minnesota alone, drug-overdose deaths increased 27% from 2019 to 2020, according to the Minnesota Department of Health.


“Being able to offer medications for opioid use disorder (MOUD) in our community has undoubtedly changed patients’ lives,” said Dr. Andrew Bader, a family medicine physician at Essentia Health St. Joseph’s Baxter Clinic. “MOUD is a best-practice recommendation, and we hope more patients will be able to benefit from this work.”

The grant aligns with Essentia’s Opioid Stewardship Program, which has resulted in fewer opioid prescriptions. Within five years of the program’s 2014 launch, Essentia reduced the number of long-term opioid prescriptions by half.

For more information, visit www.essentiahealth.org/services/substance-use-disorder .

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