Recovery Continuum Task Force working to bring detox facility to Glenwood Springs

Mind Springs Health will relocate to its new Glenwood Springs facility later this year. Chelsea Self/Post Independent

Hope — and lots of it.

That’s what New Castle Police Chief Tony Pagni sees in the recent efforts to bring a detox facility back to Garfield County, specifically in Glenwood Springs.

“It’s the most hope I’ve seen in a long time,” he told the New Castle Town Council on Tuesday night. “I can tell you the detox facility is needed for the people that you wouldn’t think need it.”

Pagni made clear, however, that a detox facility alone would not solve the region’s drug- and alcohol-dependency challenges.

Instead, Pagni took it a step further by speaking to the critical need for a continuum of care following a struggling individual’s time in detox.

“Making that next step come to fruition, that’s more valuable in my opinion,” Pagni said.

In 2019, the city of Glenwood Springs partnered with longtime former YouthZone executive director Debbie Wilde on the issue of homelessness.

After bringing multiple stakeholders together from throughout the county, including first responders, emergency room doctors, behavioral health specialists, elected officials and others, that partnership quickly evolved into something even bigger.

The conversation shifted from examining just homelessness to instead focusing on a disease that can affect anyone regardless of socioeconomic status — addiction.

“It could be in any of our homes, any of our neighborhoods,” Glenwood Springs City Councilor Paula Stepp said. “The last time we had a detox center was about 12 years ago.”

At New Castle’s town council meeting Tuesday, both Stepp and Wilde gave a presentation about the Recovery Continuum Task Force that developed out of those earlier discussions.

Additionally, around the time those conversations started to unfold, Mind Springs Health announced plans to relocate into a new, more centrally located office in Glenwood Springs.

Currently, Mind Springs has an office in south Glenwood Springs along Colorado Highway 82. However, later this year, Minds Springs plans on moving into its new location at 2802 S. Grand Ave.

Mind Springs, with the help of the Recovery Continuum Task Force, has plans to include a detox facility and resource center at its new Glenwood Springs facility.

“We were really looking, first and foremost, for a building that met the needs of our staff and would be the best facility to provide care to our patients,” said Stephanie Keister, Mind Springs Health public relations manager. “But in the back of our minds we were also thinking about looking for a facility that could potentially host a detox center.”

According to Mind Springs Health’s outpatient program director Hans Lutgring, the behavioral health organization recently received a grant from West Slope Casa that will allow them to hire two new mobile case managers and two mobile peer specialists.

West Slope Casa is a behavioral health provider network covering 17 rural counties and over 30,000 square miles in western Colorado, according to its website.

Lutgring explained that the new positions would not only assist people leaving detox but also those who hadn’t even gone into it, too.

“Talk to them about the hope of recovery,” Lutgring said.

Although, funding mechanisms were still being discussed for the regional detox center, New Castle Mayor Art Riddile discussed the possibility of utilizing tobacco tax dollars.

“Part of our dedication of our cigarette tax was to go to health and wellness,” Riddile said. “To me that sounds like it’s right down the alley of a detox facility.”

Glenwood Springs voters authorized a similar tobacco tax last November.

According to Glenwood Springs’ tobacco tax’s specific ballot language, additional revenues collected could potentially fund drug, alcohol and tobacco abuse prevention as well as “detox facilities.”

“We’re not looking at a place to just dump people off,” Wilde said. “Everybody on that continuum has a role in trying to engage folks into getting into a space of living and recovery.”

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