Many of the budget-cutting antics of state government in recent years have shifted costs to Minnesota’s counties, allowing state politicians to cluck about local governments and counties not doing more to cut their budgets.
The Park Rapids Enterprise (registration possibly required) is carrying the story today about the cost of sobering up drunks. The economy being what it is, people are drinking more and requiring more time in detox, the paper says.
The cost of one day in detox, usually at Pine Manors, has risen from $260 per day to $275. There is a sliding fee schedule depending on the patient’s financial status, but most patients are without the means to pay.
And that bothers (Hubbard County social services director Daryl) Bessler. “The state sells the stuff, they allow the license for booze to be sold, they put a tax on it and then they don’t assist in the payment of the costs,” he said.
The state requires detox services to be provided and the counties have to pay for them. The county official says the declining amount of money should be spent elsewhere. “I have to deny day training services to a mentally retarded person who was born that way versus somebody I had to provide services for because the law said I had to,” Bessler told the paper.