The Leech Lake Reservation operates The Leech Lake Reservation Opioid Treatment Program in Cass Lake—a small town near Brainerd, Minnesota. The Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe are members of the Minnesota Chippewa Tribe and number approximately 10,000 members. In addition to the OTP, Leech Lake Reservation also runs men’s and women’s halfway houses.
Established over a decade ago, The OTP offers Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT) using Suboxone and a program of group and individual therapy and case management services. Its mission is to promote a drug-free lifestyle and foster overall well-being for the tribal community by providing culturally-sensitive services, evidence-based treatment and holistic recovery methods.
Treatment and Staff
Leech Lake’s OTP is the only culturally-sensitive opioid addiction treatment program in the upper Midwest. Upon admission, clients work with a prescribing nurse or doctor for their medication and are assigned a primary counselor with whom they’ll have weekly one-on-one sessions. Clients must also attend group therapy twice a week. Counselors are either LADCs or are credentialed by the Upper Midwest Indian Council on Addictive Disorders (UMICAD).
Counselors are trained in CBT and use the White Bison 12 Steps, including talking circles and the core teachings of the Medicine Wheel. Clients are asked to attend at least one talking circle or other peer support meeting each week.
After clients have been successfully participating in treatment and passing drug screens, they may apply for up to six take-home doses at a time. They may also eventually step down to bi-weekly and monthly individual therapy.
Clients with co-occurring disorders are referred to an affiliated mental health clinic for treatment for mental health diagnoses, but the OTP is planning to add mental health services to its program. The OTP also makes accommodations for pregnant clients and coordinates care with their obstetrician.
The OTP provides transportation to sessions weekday mornings as well as case-management services to coordinate healthcare and facilitate achieving both professional and educational goals.
The Leech Lake Reservation’s Opioid Treatment Program offers culturally-sensitive MAT with Suboxone. By combining the core teachings of the Medicine Wheel and the 12 steps of White Bison, clients are counseled through a deep exploration of their addiction and recovery using methodology that deepens their connection to their community and cultural identity.
Opioid Treatment Program
110 Balsam Avenue NW
Cass Lake, MN 56633
Leech Lake Reservation Opioid Treatment Program Cost: No charge for tribal members; others may attend for a self-pay rate (call for details). Reach Leech Lake Opioid Treatment Program by phone at (218) 335-4514. Find Leech Lake Reservation on Facebook
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Photo courtesy of U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, photographer not specified or unknown [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons (resized and cropped)