Sioux Falls City Council gets update on Link Triage Center

Sioux Falls City Council gets update on Link Triage Center
Published: Sep. 26, 2023 at 9:10 PM CDT
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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) -Substance abuse continues to be an issue that affects communities of all sizes and Sioux Falls is no exception.

However, officials say they are continuing to see progress thanks to ‘The Link Community Triage center.’

It was the topic of discussion during Tuesday afternoon’s city council informational meeting.

The goal of the Link is to be a safe place for people experiencing a non-violent behavioral health crisis or substance abuse disorders.

Since opening its doors in 2021, the Link has had more than eighty-three hundred triage encounters and served more than fourteen hundred individuals.

The center has become known for its resources and partnerships across the community.

Taking weight off other organizations in the area.

Officials say the Link’s impact has already been seen in the brief time its operated.

“Jail bookings are down significantly, stays in ERs are done significantly. The Link is meeting those needs are patients who otherwise would not have gone anywhere or would have gone to the incorrect place,” said Thomas Otten, Avera Behavioral Health assistant V.P.

The Sioux Falls Police Department sees this impact regarding the number of cases they respond to especially relating to alcohol and drugs.

“We are defying national trends like we talked about last year when we are seeing a decrease in one of these cases. Keep in, and these are overdose cases reported to law enforcement that we respond to, so these numbers will be the same yearly. Our overdoses are down dramatically especially if you look back to 2019 and the decrease from that time,” said Chief Jon Thum, SFPD.

Collaboration between the systems will be the focus as work continues to improve the link

“We have a long-term financial challenge, we have four partners currently and we must determine, are all four partners staying at the current levels or are they going to increase and how are we going to meet that gap in the growing years ahead,” said Rich Merkouris, Sioux Falls City Councilor.

As well as other challenges to the recovery process.

“Transitional housing would certainly be one of those gaps and we’ve had a conversation around what that could look like, is there ways to meet that,” said Otten.

Otten wants the community to know that the link is open 24 hours 7 days a week with no appointment necessary for those wanting services.