Transforming a Minnesota community
It didn’t take long for the entire Little Falls community to see positive progress. Pain was the number one reason patients visited the emergency room when the program started in 2015. Today, pain doesn’t even make the top 20 reasons.
“When we prescribe fewer narcotics, we see fewer people in treatment, fewer people in our jails and fewer overdose deaths,” said DeVine.
The program’s success is clear. Over 340 patients have tapered off narcotic medications completely, which translates to 382,512 fewer pills entering the community each year.
Lee Boyles, the hospital’s president, credits collaboration for the program’s success. “We all own a little bit of this problem, and we knew we couldn’t solve it alone,” he said.
Monica, a patient who completed the program, sees it as an example of her neighbors’ commitment, “This is how we take care of issues – we don’t rag on drug addicts, we help them,” she said. “We don’t put them down. We lift them up and help them be successful.”