Officials address cannabis and detox
November 27, 2015
Steamboat Springs — Routt County’s detox facility is intended for alcohol only, but a need also exists for people who have ingested too much cannabis.
“It’s usually edibles,” Mind Springs Health Regional Director Tom Gangel said. “They show symptoms that are very similar to psychosis.”
Recently, a man was taken to detox after ingesting a large amount of edibles, Steamboat Springs Police Department Sgt. Rich Brown said. The man experienced serious side effects, stripped off his clothes and banged on the door. Police had to take the man to Yampa Valley Medical Center, which is not an ideal option.
“It can be very disruptive to have someone like that in the emergency department,” Brown said. “It can take up a lot of resources.”
Last week, detox workers, local police and Yampa Valley Medical Center representatives met and discussed issues surrounding people who have overdosed on marijuana.
“It’s a new problem that we’ve not had to address before,” Mind Springs Health Program Director Gina Toothaker said.
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Police are also dealing with people who are highly intoxicated on both alcohol and marijuana.
“We see it so often — the combination,” Brown said.
With the legalization of marijuana and access to potent edibles, police believe they will continue to deal with people who have ingested too much.
“I’m sure we will,” Brown said.
The county's detox program is funded partially by the city of Steamboat Springs, Routt County and Yampa Valley Medical Center, with a small amount of funding coming from the state. Additional funding comes from the clients themselves, who are charged $200 for use of the facility. If they pay the next day, there is a 50 percent discount.
Mind Springs, which is contracted to run the facility out of the Routt County Justice Center, is exploring whether changes can be made. Staff members are currently not trained to handle marijuana overdoses and the associated dangerous behaviors.
Toothaker said they will be talking to state officials and other detox centers.