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Drug treatment program has 'New Beginning' at Nobles County Jail

WORTHINGTON -- After a six-month hiatus, the New Beginnings drug treatment program has resumed operation at the Nobles County Jail, with several important changes.

"I think the great thing is how several Nobles County entities worked together to get a program going that suits everyone's needs," said Jail Administrator Monette Berkevich. "Human services, probation and the jail -- we all started talking about what kind of needs should be met."

With the original program structure, clients had both a mentor and a counselor, and had to start and finish the drug treatment while they were in jail.

"Many times, a person wasn't here long enough to finish," Berkevich said. "Some are here less than the 28 days it takes."

With the restructured program, prisoners can start the program in jail and finish in aftercare and outpatient appointments after being released. Even someone with a 10-day sentence can get started in treatment, Berkevich said, which gives them a better chance.

"Aftercare is about hooking up with a network of people who can help you with your sobriety," she explained.

According to Primary Counselor TD Hostikka, aftercare is absolutely necessary for both clients and family members.

"When (the client) is still in jail, he or she is in a structured environment and hasn't had the opportunity to experience change or apply the things they have learned," he said. "Once outside, things change."

Hostikka, who saw his first client at the Nobles County Jail this week, will also offer evening appointments for those who are not in jail. Other treatment centers in the area have daytime appointments only, he said.

"It offers a consistency -- when they get out of jail, they get to see the same people and don't have to retell their story," he added.

The continuity of the program through jailtime, outpatient and aftercare also helps people with drug and alcohol addictions cope until the ability to use the tools they are taught takes hold.

"The program will be unique in that we can start them in jail, and there is some value in starting people behind bars," Berkevich explained. "We might as well give them what we can while we have them here."

Non-jail clients are also being accepted with a referral. Hostikka can do the chemical use assessments, but those who need funding need to be referred through social services. Those using insurance or self-pay can contact Hostikka directly at 295-5388.

Hostikka was brought on board several months ago, while the program was still in the design phase. He said he has spoken with human services every day this week, taking referrals.

"I'm excited to start something new and hopefully close the gaps," Berkevich said. "I'm thankful the groups worked together to get this in place."

Hostikka will work with clients in the jail from 1:30 to 4:30 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursday, then do outpatient work from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. those same days. He'll also be in the jail from 8 to 11 a.m. Fridays.

New Beginnings has been providing drug and alcohol treatment services for 28 years, and has a 95 percent satisfaction rate from patients.