The number of detoxification centers in Minnesota has fallen from 50 to 23 in the last two decades, leaving jails and hospital emergency rooms to deal with chronic drinkers and addicts, the Star Tribune reports.
The effects of the dwindling number of detox centers can be felt all over the state. Hennepin County estimates that 700 to 800 chronic drinkers are treated per month, while police in Mankato must regularly take heavily intoxicated people to New Ulm, 30 minutes away, because the city's detox center closed in 2003.
In addition, Duluth's detox center is getting inebriates from Brainerd and Baxter in Crow Wing County, which is about two hours away, the Star Tribune says.
The executive director of the Center for Alcohol and Drug Treatment in Duluth blames the lack of detox centers on budgeting pressures.
"The primary problem has been a lack of support from the state," Gary Olson told the Star Tribune.