Four Decades of Hope and Healing for Young People and their Families

Hazelden Betty Ford in Plymouth, Minnesota, celebrates 40th anniversary as leading addiction, mental health care provider
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Center City, Minn. (June 3, 2021)—Four decades ago, young people struggling with addiction or mental health had few options to get age-specific professional help. If they got any care at all, it was generally alongside adults. Today, thanks to organizations like the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation, whose treatment center in Plymouth, Minn., is celebrating its 40th anniversary in 2021, evidence-based care designed specifically for adolescents, young adults and their families is much more readily available.

"Most often, addiction starts—or is seeded—at a young age. The good news is recovery can and often does get seeded at a young age, too, and we're grateful and be part of that every day here at Hazelden Betty Ford in Plymouth," said Mollie Greenig, executive director for the center originally named Hazelden Pioneer House, a nod to its pioneering work with youth. "We're honored and proud to celebrate our 40th anniversary throughout this month and want to thank our friends at JonnyPops for donating some delicious frozen treats for our staff and patients to enjoy. We're grateful for them and all of our many passionate supporters."

The rich history of Hazelden Betty Ford in Plymouth, founded in June 1981, actually dates back to 1948, when the site became home to the original Pioneer House—the first Twelve Step-oriented treatment center of any kind in Minnesota and one of the first in the world. In fact, Pioneer House opened seven months ahead of the founding of the Hazelden Foundation 51 miles to the north in Center City. It was co-founded by Pat Cronin, who also started Minnesota's first Alcoholics Anonymous group and is now the namesake of one of Hazelden Betty Ford's residential treatment units in Center City.

From the beginning, Pioneer House in Plymouth—located near the shores of Medicine Lake—had a close relationship with Hazelden, which eventually acquired it on June 1, 1981, launching for the first time services tailored specifically to adolescents, young adults and their families.

Today, on the same historic plot of land, Hazelden Betty Ford in Plymouth is the nation's leading provider of substance use and mental health services for young people. The Plymouth drug rehab, known for its comprehensive approach to care, including robust family services, it is one of the cornerstones in Hazelden Betty Ford's national system, with 160 employees serving more than 1,000 patients a year from across the country as well as their family members. The grounds and facility—expanded and renovated significantly in 2013 thanks to generous donors—is a beautiful setting for the life-changing work of recovery, honoring the dignity and respect of the individuals and families served there.

"It's so important to identify and address addiction in its earliest stages," said the center's longtime medical director, Joseph Lee, MD, who will become the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation's President and CEO on June 28. "We can't wait to provide help only when people are in later-stage addiction as adults. That's like waiting for people to develop late-stage heart disease before we provide help—it doesn't make any sense. It's better to identify substance use disorders as early as possible and help young people change the trajectory of the rest of their lives. We're humbled every day to do that work and make that investment in the young people and families whose lives we're fortunate enough to touch."

About the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation

The Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation is a force of healing and hope for individuals, families and communities affected by addiction to alcohol and other drugs. As the nation's leading nonprofit provider of comprehensive inpatient and outpatient addiction and mental health care for adults and youth, the Foundation has treatment centers and telehealth services nationwide as well as a network of collaborators throughout health care. Through charitable support and a commitment to innovation, the Foundation is able to continually enhance care, research, programs and services, and help more people. With a legacy that began in 1949 and includes the 1982 founding of the Betty Ford Center, the Foundation today is committed to diversity, equity and inclusion in its services and throughout the organization, which also encompasses a graduate school of addiction studies, a publishing division, an addiction research center, recovery advocacy and thought leadership, professional and medical education programs, school-based prevention resources and a specialized program for children who grow up in families with addiction.