Half a century of treating the whole person

Millions of people struggle with substance use, and for the past 50 years, Fairview has been there to help

Substance Use Services

A lot can change in 50 years. Just ask psychotherapist Ollie Stocker, a member of Fairview’s Substance Use Services team since 1975.

“We opened our doors back in 1968, and since then, we've evolved through changing names, expanded services, and new populations,” Ollie recalls. “But one thing that hasn’t changed is our focus on the patient as a person, and it’s proven the test of time.”

 “Our care philosophy is simple: Treat everyone with respect and dignity.”  

Blazing the trail

First known as the Extended Care Center and then St. Mary’s Rehabilitation Center in Minneapolis, the program primarily served people addicted to alcohol.

“We offered a comprehensive inpatient program, and it wasn’t unusual for patients to stay four to six weeks,” Ollie says. “They’d be seen by a physician, an alcohol counselor, a nutritionist, and a chaplain, among other care providers.”

“Because of our outstanding reputation, patients were referred to us from all over the country.” 

The care model was one-of-a-kind: a hybrid of a 12-step program and a holistic approach of treating the whole person. Each treatment plan was designed to fit the patient’s unique needs.   

A consulting service developed by St. Mary's offered guidance to other addiction programs. 

“It was viewed as a model for rehabilitation centers in several other states,” Ollie recalls. “It wasn’t uncommon for our facility to be featured on national news programs.”

Changing to fit patients’ needs

Over the years, the team had to be nimble.

“When we started getting patients who used other drugs — like cocaine, methamphetamines, opiates, and heroin — we adjusted our programming to treat those substance use disorders as well,” Ollie says.

One of the team's innovations was the use of Buprenorphine — a medication that curbs opioid withdrawal symptoms and is highly effective when paired with conventional therapy.

Though components of the original model have changed, the holistic approach is still used today.

“By keeping the patient at the center," Ollie says, "we’ve continued to provide effective, individualized care for those with multiple clinical and psycho-social concerns.” 

Expanding services

Today, inpatient and outpatient services for both adults and adolescents are offered throughout our system.

"We still see patents in Minneapolis, but patients can receive services in St. Paul, Burnsville, Crystal, and Edina to name a few," Ollie says. "We've also implemented smoking cessation counseling, as it can help reduce the likelihood of substance use relapse."

Programming has grown to include treatment for compulsive gambling, specialized services for deaf and hard of hearing individuals, and Minnesota’s first inpatient program for addicted pregnant women.

“We’ll continue to add services and programs that fit the ever-changing needs of our community,” Ollie says. “We’ve always been there for our patients when they’ve hit rock bottom and helped them get back on their feet to live healthy, sober lives.”

For more information, visit our Behavior Health Services page and click on the links for adult or adolescent substance use.  

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