Detox makes pitch to New Castle Town Council

Carrie Click
Post Independent Staff

NEW CASTLE – Three employees from Colorado West Regional Mental Health stood in front of the New Castle Town Council Tuesday night asking for funds to keep its Glenwood Springs detoxification center open.

Although Colorado West left the meeting empty handed, council members said they’d review the request once they received specific information about New Castle residents’ use of the center.

Tom Updike, M.D., Kim Hilderbrand and Diane Schlough initially asked New Castle town officials to make a financial commitment for the 2003 calendar year.

Colorado West’s appearance in New Castle is one of many appearances the organization is making to 16 community governments, three counties and three hospitals it serves. The agency is seeking to make up this year’s budget shortfall of $225,000.

Schlough explained to the council that the agency is asking for specific funding using a formula based on town or county populations, and the average number of people who will use the detox center.

In New Castle, for example, Colorado West is asking for nearly $3,000, a figure reached by determining that out of New Castle’s population of 1,984 residents, two people will likely go to detox. A one-day stay at the detox center is $544, and clients generally stay a total of 2.6 days.

Shlough pointed out that a similar hospital stay costs nearly $2,700 per day.

Hilderbrand also explained to council that the detox isn’t a “revolving door” facility like many believe. She said detox offers a starting point for people to get treatment for their addictions.

“Eighty-three percent of our clients go on to other treatments after being released from detox,” she said, while only 17 percent make return visits.

“The detox center does impact people. It does help people,” Hilderbrand said.

Mayor Bill Wentzel explained all decisions regarding this year’s budget have been made, but that the council would be willing to look at contributing – as long as they could receive detail from Colorado West on the actual numbers of people that utilize the detox center.

Updike said Colorado West would provide that information to council members.

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