CORI has not been shy about the research showing that harm reduction services save lives and can act as a pathway to treatment. Harm reduction services include substance testing strips, clean needle exchanges, overdose reversal medications, etc. With the signing of SF 2909 on May 19th, access to harm reduction services for Minnesotans has been expanded and is a huge step in addressing addiction and drug use as the public health that it is, instead of addressing it with punitive policies that cost people their lives. SF 2909 also decriminalizes possession of drug paraphernalia, which has historically, unnecessarily, assigned a criminal conviction to people which becomes a barrier for them to be successful in any number of other areas in their life.
CORI has been sharing information over the last year about safe consumption sites and the role they play in preventing overdoses and acting as a stepping stone for people to find treatment. On May 24, Governor Walz signed Senate File 2934 which mandates the establishment of safe consumption sites. Safe consumption sites (also known as safe use sites and overdose prevention centers), are spaces where individuals can consume pre-obtained drugs in a setting monitored by trained staff who can intervene in the event of an overdose. While safe consumption sites are relatively new to the U.S., studies from other countries have shown their effectiveness at reducing overdose deaths, transmission rates of infectious disease, and increased the number of people who initiate treatment. This is a huge victory and step in the right direction in addressing the overdose crisis and CORI is thankful to the advocates and policy makers who made this possible and we are ready to see the impact this will have and the lives it will save.
Pathways Home Act
On Thursday, March 2 Minnesota Passed the Pathways Home Act, a bill aiming to allocate $150 million from the General Fund in fiscal year 2024 for emergency shelter facilities.
Department of Corrections FY 24-25 Approved Budget
Based on an analysis of Governor Walz’s FY 24-25 budget, CORI has put together the following summary of allocations:
- Department of Corrections ($75M) (For more detailed information, download our more detailed DOC budget breakdown here)
- Early Prison Release for Participating in Treatment (no cost)
- Community Supervision and Support – Increase in State Funding ($66 M)
- Public Safety Through Stable Housing ($2.1 M)
- Family Stabilization and Support ($2.84 M)
- Successful Reentry for Public Safety ($1.5 M)
- Pathways from Prison to Employment ($1.9 M)
- Oak Park Heights MH Treatment Unit ($519,000)
Medicaid Access for Incarcerated Individuals
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) released a press release regarding a demonstration project (Reentry Section 1115 Demonstration Opportunity that would allow incarcerated individuals access to Medicaid up to 90 days pre-release in an effort to aid them in their release and transition back to the community while providing continuity of care. CMS has also issued guidance on what would be expected of applicants that can be found here.