Toward more help for addictions and disorders

WCCO is trying to raise some money today for the Minnesota Adult and Teen Challenge, and with good reason: Insurance companies call the shots on treatment programs.

People are often released from treatment programs when the insurance company is ready to stop paying — as little as 10 days in some cases — even though the nature of addiction dictates much longer treatment.

That fact may be one of the reasons why Bobby Weishalla is dead.

“You always think it’s not going to happen to my kid or my family,” his mother says in a compelling interview.

That may explain why the epidemic of heroin in Minnesota is getting a general shrug from the community.

The interview presents a horrifying reality: It can happen to anyone’s kid and it can happen with frightening ease.

“Why he did, I don’t know, but it was kind of like, as soon as he did, that was it,” she said. “You’re hooked right away.”

Slowly, very slowly, we’re becoming more enlightened on matters of treatment. The Star Tribune today, for example, reports that Hennepin County jail officials are proposing “recovery centers” instead of jail for people with psychiatric disorders in an attempt to get them help rather than punishment in the criminal justice system.

“Most mentally ill people in jail are in a hell they don’t deserve,” said Hennepin County Judge Jay Quam. “Communities like Orlando are proving there is a more effective, economical and humane way to treat mental illness and improve lives.”