Detox program is official

Funding deal made for Regional Crisis Stabilization Unit, too

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Funding for two programs that assist people with substance abuse and mental health crises in Routt County is official.

Steamboat Mental Health, Yampa Valley Medical Center, the city of Steamboat Springs and Routt County have signed contracts to fund the countywide Detox Center and the Regional Crisis Stabilization Unit.

Each organization will contribute $19,000 this year to the programs and has expressed a willingness to support them for the long-term. Additional funds will come through Colorado West Regional Mental Health, of which Steamboat Mental Health is an office.

The Detox Center and Crisis Stabilization Unit offer intermediate help to people going through mental health or substance abuse crises, Tom Gangel said. He is the division director for Steamboat Mental Health, which is the lead agency for both programs. Medical, mental health, social service and law enforcement agencies in Routt County worked together to create and support the programs.

The Detox Center uses space at the Routt County Jail, and the Crisis Stabilization Unit is at the Moffat County Public Safety Center.

Since the programs began about a year ago, about 100 people have used the centers, Gangel said. The Detox Center and the Crisis Stabilization Unit make help more accessible to Routt County residents and visitors, and also virtually will eliminate the high costs of transporting people to the state hospital or caring for them in the emergency room at Yampa Valley Medical Center.

In many communities, one organization ends up shifting the costs of dealing with substance abuse and mental health crises to other organizations, Routt County Human Services Director Bob White said. Routt County's plan will prevent that bureaucratic shuffle.

The programs also provide faster care, making it easier for people to recover from these crises.

"(We're) saving money ... and we're helping people get their lives back on track," White said.

Routt County Commissioner Nancy Stahoviak praised the collaborative effort to create the programs.

"We have agreed that it's a community problem," Stahoviak said. "We're going to address it together."

When the Routt County justice center is built, Stahoviak said, there would be space for holding cells for both programs.

"We just really are excited that our community has pulled together well enough to offer these services, much better than many other communities in the state of Colorado," Gangel said. "Hopefully we'll be able to continue in the future."

-- To reach Susan Bacon, call 871-4203

or e-mail sbacon@steamboatpilot.com

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