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Nick Puente, prevention supervisor for the Behavioral Health Division.

The Minnesota Department of Human Services (DHS) hosted a September “Hope Against Opioids Conference” at Neighborhood House in St. Paul.

The conference brought together approximately 100 individuals and service providers committed to addressing health disparities impacting the Latino community. Researchers, practitioners and advocates shared emerging research and best practices, as well as community perspectives that shape the agenda for the health of Minnesota’s Latino communities.

The conference featured keynote speaker Dr. Hector Colon-Rivera, medical director of the behavioral health program of Asociación Puertoriqueños en Marcha, a non-profit organization dedicated to improving the quality of life of Hispanic communities through direct behavior and substance use disorder services in the Philadelphia area.

The Latino community has not been spared from the opioid epidemic. In 2007, 74 Latinos went to treatment in Minnesota due to opioids. By 2017, that number increased seven-fold to 563. The conference highlighted the need for culturally specific services both in prevention and treatment.

The event was sponsored by DHS, in partnership with La Clinica and CLUES (Comunidades Latinas Unidas en Servicio).

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