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Editorial: Hospital substance abuse program is worthy of recognition

There is a 25-year celebration taking place in Hudson and it is worthy of recognition. Programs for Change Alcohol and Substance Abuse Recovery celebrates its 25th anniversary today!

The inception of the program goes back to 1987 with the closing of a St. Paul hospital offering this type of care to the Hudson community. Local hospital and clinic leaders joined forces to develop a plan to offer inpatient and outpatient counseling and treatment to Hudson and surrounding communities.

Steve Muellerleile developed the idea and soon put together a team that included Kathy Smith and Robert McGrew. They built the program based on the Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) 12-Step Recovery Model.

Programs for Change offers an evaluation process to assess the whole person and identify when alcohol or substance use has become a dependency.

The program continued to thrive despite a major change in health care in 1993. Financial and clinical delivery models changed throughout the industry, requiring Hudson Hospital to discontinue inpatient substance dependence treatment services and concentrate on outpatient program growth. It was in this transition that the program evolved and became "Programs for Change."

In 2003, Peter VanDusartz, director, Clinical Counseling & Social Services, manager, Programs for Change, was brought on due to his background in mental health to develop a new intake assessment process which included a full psycho-social history and mental health evaluation.

The program expanded even more in 2008 when it was moved off the Hudson Hospital campus and the hospital joined with the HealthPartners family of care offering greater access and a larger network of services to the Hudson community. This partnership provides participants a higher level of care with Regions Hospital's Alcohol and Drug Abuse Program (ADAP).

Today, Programs for Change offers compassionate and non-judgmental guidance to help people break free dependencies and live the life they've always intended.

Specific programs include: Adolescent Insights Program, Continuing Care Program, Intake Assessment, and Intensive Outpatient Treatment Program.

The local program has gained a successful reputation and now draws clients from all over the region as it offers a healthy, positive opportunity for change.

Recovery from substance dependence has a ripple effect and improves all areas of a person's life, including productivity at work, parenting roles, and involvement with family and school.

Alumni of the program are participating in a celebration today. We congratulate the people who, over the years, have entered the program in an effort to improve their lives. We congratulate the hospital and people who had the vision to start the program and to those who sustain its existence. Enjoy the day!

Anyone interested in information about Programs for Change should contact Pete VanDusartz at (715) 531-6752