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Hazelden Betty Ford celebrates 70th anniversary

CENTER CITY, Minn., May 1, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- The Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation, the nation's leading nonprofit addiction treatment provider, today celebrates 70 years of saving lives, restoring families, and spreading hope about the promise and possibility of recovery.

Hazelden, as it was then known, launched on May 1, 1949, with just a single "lay" counselor and single patient—opening on the banks of South Center Lake in Minnesota as a refuge for "the convalescent alcoholic." It was a place of nature strolls, easy chairs, long conversations over coffee and a holistic approach to healing the body, mind and spirit.

Today, Hazelden Betty Ford's professionals in 17 locations across the country serve more than 20,000 patients a year and many thousands more through the organization's graduate school and its publishing, prevention and professional education arms, as well as through its Patient Care Network and other collaborations.

"Our patients, students and employees have gone on to open and work in countless addiction-related organizations around the world. It's always gratifying to see and discover the many different ways that our training, products, services and advocacy—and our people—have helped shape the fields of addiction prevention, treatment and recovery," said President and CEO Mark Mishek.

While the idea of creating a humane, therapeutic environment for people with addiction doesn't seem a remarkable concept today, it was almost unheard of when Hazelden was established.

"Our founders helped launch both a field of health care and a social reform movement," Mishek said. "They recognized addiction was a disease neglected by the rest of health care, and they humbly went about humanizing the people who have it, developing innovate ideas, measuring and sharing what works, and serving more and more people—year after year. Today, we take very seriously our responsibility to continue learning, growing, and carrying on that mission of hope, healing, leadership and advocacy."

Throughout its seven decades, Hazelden Betty Ford's spirit of innovation and leadership—the courage to do things differently—has led to many breakthroughs, such as:

  • Establishing one of the nation's first addiction treatment centers for women;
  • "Professionalizing" addiction counseling with specialized counselor training (the precursor to its fully accredited graduate school);
  • Pioneering a program of support for families and children hurt by addiction; and
  • Developing—in this most recent decade—a model new, evidence-based treatment framework for opioid use disorder.

The organization's reach and impact can also be traced to its enduring commitment to sharing what works.

"Our earliest leaders believed too many people suffer with addiction for us to keep our knowledge and experience to ourselves," Mishek said. "That's why our doors are open to other treatment providers and aspiring counselors to come and learn with us, and why published resources, research initiatives and advocacy efforts are a big part of our story."

The organization is marking its platinum anniversary with two notable events, among others, in 2019:

  • The grand opening and ribbon cutting on May 2 for its newest treatment center: Hazelden Betty Ford in Bellevue, Wash.; and
  • Its signature, one-of-a-kind outdoor sober music festival, hazelfest, to be held Aug. 3 on the grounds where the organization was founded in Center City, Minn.

The Bellevue open house on May 2 will be held from 3 p.m. to 5:30 p.m., with speakers and recognitions beginning at 4 p.m. followed by a ribbon-cutting photo-op at approximately 4:30 p.m. The event is free and open to the public, but space is limited and registration is required online at

Presented by the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation and sponsored by 89.3 The Current, hazelfest brings together people affected by addiction and the general public to celebrate recovery, spread hope, and smash the stigma associated with substance use disorders and mental illness. Tickets are $20 in advance and available now at

"With each new day, we embrace the challenge of helping more people reclaim their lives from addiction," Mishek said. "We are committed to the vision that no one need suffer or die from a disease that can be treated, managed and overcome."

For more reflections on Hazelden Betty Ford's 70th anniversary, read the new edition of its Together magazine.

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 treatment for adults and youth, the Foundation has 17 locations nationwide and collaborates with an expansive network throughout health care. With a legacy that began in 1949 and includes the 1982 founding of the Betty Ford Center, the Foundation today 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. Learn more at and on Twitter @hazldnbettyford

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SOURCE Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation