The Link seeing more patients as weather gets warmer

Published: Mar. 30, 2023 at 6:06 PM CDT
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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - When the Sioux Falls 2022 crime statistics were released, there was a noticeable decrease in the number of drug seizures in the city. The Link says that there is a connection between that and the number of patients seeking care.

Patients under the influence of drugs are just a portion of the total number of people that come into The Link. Still, the drop in drug seizures contributed to a decline in patients at The Link.

“When we look at the monthly triage data, that we’ve kept since we’ve opened and we compare it on a year-to-year basis, we have seen a slight decrease in the number of triages that we have done,” said Katherine Cedeño Torres, Nurse Manager with The Link. “With that being said, we have been near capacity for the past few weeks and this is a trend that we’ve seen actually in previous years as the weather gets warmer and the days get longer.”

When The Link is at or near capacity, it forces staff to make tough decisions with patients, but they still try to provide resources to those struggling with addiction.

“Our sobering area, those patients are only here for usually five to six hours, so we are still usually able to accept patients there. But unfortunately, we can’t accept them into our withdrawal management, and that sometimes results in more patients going to jail unfortunately if they are intoxicated or do need to detox,” said Torres.

The Link has been important for the community, providing detox care so that the majority of patients don’t have to go to jail. They treat their patients with dignity and respect because they believe addiction is a disease, not a character flaw.

“Luckily we are here to help connect them with resources, whether that be treatment or a long-term facility for them to live in or just resources to help them get connected with, improving themselves and hopefully getting on the road to recovery,” explained Torres.

No matter the trends, The Link hopes to provide compassionate care for all who seek help.