While the opioid problem in the Twin Ports is bad and getting worse, there is hope on the horizon.  The Duluth Police Department recently received grant money that will be put towards expanding the response programs over the next three year period.

The grant money totals $899,055 and represents a sizeable investment in the response program.  To coordinate efforts, the Duluth Police Department will create a Lake Superior Diversion and Substance Use Response Team to utilize the funding and maximize efforts over the next three years.  To funding and the expanding programing will allow the police to "expand....[their]....focus to include methamphetamine, reduce delays in outreach and assessment, and provide services to a growing caseload".

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Duluth Police Chief Mike Tusken had complimentary words to say about existing efforts by the department and expressed hope that the growth in programing would reap great benefits:

"Our existing Opioid Response Technician, Jess Nickila, has done a tremendous job with outreach and advocacy for people who are suffering from the scourge of addiction. In her work, Jess lifts people up by giving them hope for a fresh start through her compassionate focus on saving lives and getting healthy.  To be able to expand the reach of the hard work she is doing, we will save and renew lives while at the same time limiting the demand for opioids in our community.”

Additionally, the department will be able to hire a Licensed Drug and Alcohol Counselor; that hire will not only allow the police to expand their current caseload by 20 to 30 more per year, but to also get people into treatment quicker.

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