The heads of several state agencies working to create Minnesota's first statewide substance abuse strategy are holding meetings to learn more from the public.
State commissioners held meetings in Duluth and Bemidji on Friday, and they plan to hold another next week. Human Services Commissioner Lucinda Jesson said a statewide plan is necessary to save lives and money.
"About 15 percent of what we spend in state government is really attributable to addiction and substance abuse," Jesson said. "More importantly, it hurts people and has a devastating impact on families. That's why we really wanted to bring all of the different parts of state government together so we're aligned in our goals and in what we're doing."
The final public meeting is at 10 a.m. Wednesday, Nov. 14, at Olmsted County Community Services, 2117 Campus Drive SE, Rochester.
Jesson said people should come prepared to tell officials how they want policymakers to prioritize substance abuse issues. "What are the biggest challenges with substance abuse in their communities," Jesson said.
"I want them to tell us if they had a No. 1 or No. 2 priority that they would look for from state government, what would those be. And to be specific, so that as policymakers, when we're trying to prioritize how we spend dollars and resources, we can keep those things in mind."
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