With drug and alcohol abuse on the rise nationally, caused largely by the opioid crisis, the Duluth Bethel relit the green beacon atop its building as a New Year’s Eve symbol of hope for those suffering from substance abuse in the Northland.
Officials from the Bethel, a 145-year-old nonprofit center for chemical-dependency treatment and community corrections, also discussed resources to help people suffering from addiction. In response to demand largely by driven by the opioid crisis, the Bethel is starting programs in 2019 including high-intensity treatment for women and men as well as a “Core 12” program that combines medically assisted treatment with the 12 Steps of Alcoholics and Narcotics Anonymous.
“Every day is an opportunity for hope and healing for those who are suffering,” Bethel Executive Director Dennis Cummings said. “But the New Year is especially symbolic as a time for new beginnings.”
Three years ago, the Bethel lit the beacon for the first time in more than 50 years. The beacon glows a bluish green and can be seen for miles. Prior to going dark, the distinctive light atop the building at 23 Mesaba Ave. had shined as a symbol of hope. In addition, before advances in radar and other navigational tools, ships on Lake Superior used the beacon to help sail safely into the Duluth harbor.
“Decades ago, our beacon helped guide sailors into safe harbor,” Cummings said. “Today, the beacon still shines to let everyone in the Northland know that there is safety, protection and a return life on stable footing here and through other treatment and recovery options.”
Officials from the Bethel participated in the re-lighting ceremony along with clients, alumni and supporters of the organization, one of the Northland’s oldest charities. The re-lighting ceremony was followed by a celebration and dinner for the recovery community with food provided by US Foods, Sysco and Hoffbauer Family Farms.
About 90 men and women live temporarily at the Bethel at any given time. Many are there to receive treatment and to find recovery from abuse of drugs or alcohol. Others participate in work-release or other community corrections programs. The Bethel also offers outpatient treatment for chemical dependency and other services.