In 2007 a group of Minnesotans in recovery began discussing the gaps in care for people with substance use disorders. Few resources beyond acute interventions, such as treatment, existed to help people initiate or sustain long-term recovery from the chronic disease of addiction. Once known as the nation’s leader in addiction treatment and home to many treatment providers, Minnesota was ranked 47th out of 50 states for those requiring support and care for substance use disorders. Though an explanation for this unimpressive standing will never be crystal clear, variables worth considering were:
- Lack of any Recovery Community Organizations (RCOs), which existed in many other states
- The "Minnesota Model" creating a false sense of security and leading to a sense of complacency
- Short-sighted containment strategies
- Changes in eligibility for treatment that excluded all but the most severe cases Stigma
- Inadequate treatment reimbursement rates
- The recession (and increasing demand for substance use disorder and recovery support services)
In 2009 the Minnesota Department of Human Services‘ (DHS) Alcohol and Drug Abuse Division (ADAD) issued a Request for Proposals to fund a Recovery Community Organization initiative. By that time Minnesota Recovery Connection had applied for and received 501(c) 3 status from the IRS, and it officially began operations after being awarded a DHS contract in 2010. With this initial support, MRC became a viable organization and Minnesota’s first ever Recovery Community Organization. Subsequent DHS contracts have been critical to sustaining MRC’s operations, which are also supported through private donations, fundraising efforts and other grants and contracts.