Drug treatment program changes Rochester man's life - KTTC Rochester, Austin, Mason City News, Weather and Sports

Drug treatment program changes Rochester man's life

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ROCHESTER, Minn. (KTTC) -- Minnesota Adult and Teen Challenge opened a new facility in Rochester at a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Tuesday.

Based out of Minneapolis, the drug rehabilitation program has been helping teens and adults, ages 18 to 63, overcome drug and alcohol addiction for almost 30 years. 

The new facility is the organization's first treatment center in southeast Minnesota.  It is located at the former Samaritan Bethany Nursing Home in northwest Rochester. There are more than 100 rooms to accommodate short and long-term male patients.

"It's not just a metro issue. There's a lot of people who are struggling with addictions and that is true here in Rochester," said Tom Truzinski, Rochester Center Director. "The community came after us and invited us to come into the community. After doing a lot of research and looking into it we saw that the need was very evident here."

Brad Watson is a Rochester resident who was in need of the program. Watson began using drugs when he was 12-years-old. That quickly escalated into a cycle of alcohol abuse, a downward spiral that included multiple run-ins with the law and a period where he was homeless. Rock bottom came after he was arrested for robbery last year.  He was sent to jail and then to treatment at the Minnesota Adult and Teen Challenge in Minneapolis. Now, he has moved his treatment to the Rochester facility.

"This is like a beacon of hope on top of the hill here," said Watson. Originally from St. Louis, Missouri, Brad's grandmother brought him to Rochester after his father and mother (both struggling with addiction themselves) abandoned him. He started abusing drugs and alcohol more than 12 years ago and he's been to rehab before. But it was the Minnesota Adult and Teen Challenge program that he said changed his life.
   
"When you come into a program like teen challenge, people look at that and they see your commitment to change," said Watson. "They see that change. That reflects more positive than it could ever negative."
   
He enrolled in the center's long-term treatment program, after spending five months in jail in 2013. Since then, he's turned his life around.

"I've been able to speak to different organizations and congregations and individuals around the community and give back to the community I've taken so much from," said Watson. "I've been able to speak to the lives I helped destroy. I can't express the amount of change."
   
The changes for future clients, like Brad, will begin in the new facility's workout room, cafeteria, common areas and private rooms.  For Brad, his journey from drug addict to advocate started in the chapel after he chose to participate in the center's faith-based program. The faith-based program is optional for clients, but according to administrators, many choose to enroll in the treatment.
   
"Redemption is real," said Watson.  "It doesn't matter how far down you go, there's a way out."
   
The program's Christian-based treatment limits the facility from using government grants and some health insurance coverage for anything but food and shelter for patients. Other operations are paid for by private donors, including community congregations and businesses.

According to Minnesota Adult and Teen Challenge, the program offers recovery services including, intensive residential and outpatient treatment plans, extensive aftercare programs and prevention programs for middle and high school students. The program's other facilities are located in the Twin Cities, Duluth and Brainerd.
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