Daystar Treatment Center opens today in former Refuge building in Detroit Lakes, but will serve males, not women
Located in the renovated Refuge building on Eighth Street, the Daystar Treatment Center will now use its 15 beds to accommodate men – just like its sister treatment program, the 15-bed Compassion House, half a block west.
“We started with the plan to treat women first,” said Marie Booth, Daystar’s new assistant program director. “As we went through the process, we realized that there was an even greater need for treatment beds for men. We decided to expand the activities at Compassion House and bring them here. “
There will be some minor differences between the programs at Compassion House and Daystar. “We are able to accommodate clients who are also receiving drug treatments,” she said, as well as clients who are taking certain controlled medications for mental illness that Compassion House would not be eligible for.
Daystar is also built on one level so people with physical disabilities can be treated there, said Anderson Saint Georges, program director at Compassion House and Daystar Recovery Center.
Daystar will have 10 employees, almost all of them full-time, Booth said. “I’m very excited about the people I’ve hired – they’re really passionate about the field,” she said.
There will hardly be any division of staff between Daystar and Compassion House, although there may be a common employee.
Daystar is only approved for the treatment of substance abuse, not for mental illness. “However, we will work with local mental health partners as necessary,” Booth said. “The counselors here will educate clients about the importance of continued care and the maintenance of their mental health in general,” she added.
Customers stay for 30 to 90 days or more depending on customer needs. The program is aimed at men between 18 and 75 years of age.
Daystar offers inpatient treatments with high to medium intensity, which of course also include accommodation and meals. High-intensity inpatient treatment programs typically offer at least 30 hours of treatment per week, while medium-intensity programs offer between 15 and 30 hours of treatment.
Daystar is planning a relaxed opening to give staff time to acclimate. “We have referrals, but we’re taking it slowly to train people,” said Saint Georges. “We don’t want to overwhelm them,” added Booth.
“Recovery in Action” is the treatment model at Compassion House and Daystar, said Saint Georges.
“We make sure everyone practices coping skills and we model positive behavior.” He’s a firm believer in getting customers out of the building, be it fishing or disc golf or playing sports at the Detroit Lakes Community Center, he said.
It helps when the church is willing to give people the benefit of the doubt, he said. “We have to end the stigma and give people a second chance,” he said.
“It’s important to judge someone not just on their looks or language, or even their previous actions, especially someone trying to create a recovery program,” added Booth. “It is important that we show grace.”
She knows a little bit about grace: Booth grew up the daughter of a Baptist priest in Huntington, West Virginia, a Moorhead-sized town ravaged by the opioid epidemic.
“It wasn’t uncommon for HD to have 20 overdose deaths a week in Huntington’s disease,” she said. “West Virginia is at the heart of the opioid epidemic you are hearing about,” she added. Booth worked there in drug treatment for nine years. In total, she worked for about 12 years in substance abuse and an additional eight years in mental health care. She moved to Minnesota about five years ago and started working at the Daystar Recovery Center on February 15.
For all of his challenges, Booth clearly loves working with people struggling to overcome addiction. “There comes a time in treatment, you can see it in her eyes – something just clicks,” she said. “They’re getting it, and they really want to keep that change in their lives.”