Board looks at financial share of detox center

— The county is one of three local entities being asked to each pitch in $6,750 to fund a trial detox center.

The Routt County Board of Commissioners today is discussing its financial share of a startup program to treat and counsel drug and alcohol abusers.

Routt County, the city of Steamboat Springs and Yampa Valley Medical Center have been asked to help get the program up and running.

Each entity would pay $1,500 a month for four and a half months. The trial period is slated from Feb. 15 to June 30.

The City Council recently lent its support to a trial detox center. The city did not identify funding for the program during its 2002 budget retreat, so city staff is looking at possible avenues for funding the city's contribution to the program.

City Manager Paul Hughes told the City Council earlier this month the city would first consider taking money from the public safety department's budget. The city could also dip into its reserves.

County officials earmarked $60,000 for a detox facility in the 2003 county budget. The county commissioners sit on the multi-agency workgroup that has been crafting a plan to treat people who struggle with abuse and dependence problems.

Representatives from medical, mental health, social service and law enforcement agencies in the county began meeting monthly last year in response to the growing number of alcohol and drug abuse cases in Routt County.

Colorado West Regional Mental Health will contribute $2,000 monthly during the detox center's trial run.

Client fees are expected to bring in another $500 a month.

The money will pay for a full-time staff person to screen patients brought to the Routt County Jail. The workgroup would like to hire someone with mental health qualifications and a background in emergency medical response because a full-time nurse is not feasible.

The staff person would screen patients to determine if their condition requires medical attention at the hospital.

Yampa Valley Medical Center incurred $158,000 last year in charges for emergency care for intoxicated patients. Some of those patients were sick enough and admitted, but many others only tied up medical staff.

Patients whose condition was deemed safe would remain under supervision in a holding cell at the jail until they sobered up and could receive counseling.

The workgroup is looking at other locations, such as a hotel room, to place patients when the holding cell is occupied.

The program's test run will give the workgroup a better picture of what works and what doesn't work in running a detoxification program.

The county commissioners discuss paying for the program at 4:30 p.m. today in the commissioners' hearing room.

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