Rifle commits $40,000 to detox center in Glenwood Springs | PostIndependent.com

Rifle commits $40,000 to detox center in Glenwood Springs

Rifle City Council approved unanimously a $40,000 appropriation from the general fund to help support a new detox center in Glenwood Springs.

Mind Springs Health representative Debbie Wilde said the detox center — which is being referred to as Social Setting Withdrawal Management — includes eight to 10 beds and is a community collaborative effort.

Whenever people are picked up for drug and alcohol intoxication, they’re brought to either Valley View Hospital in Glenwood Springs or Grand River Health in Rifle.

“We haven’t had a detox in our county for a good 16-plus years,” Wilde said. “That has really been an issue for law enforcement, for medical services. Emergency rooms have become kind of the default detox.”

According to data provided by Mind Springs, Valley View and Grand River hospitals saw at least 44% of emergency room visits for substance abuse between October 2019-March 2020 were people from Rifle, Silt and the Parachute Valley. Meanwhile, 75% of those visits are alcohol-related.

Between Valley View and Grand River, Medicaid makes up between 54-61% of payer sources from substance-related patients.

The city of Glenwood Springs has committed $200,000 to the detox center, while Garfield County and its hospitals are also making commitments.

Prior to the approval, Mind Springs’ proposal raised questions from Rifle City Council as to whether a detox center is an effective way to deter habitual substance abuse.

City Council member Chris Bornholdt, a former Glenwood Springs firefighter, recalled times bringing the same people in and out of Garfield County’s former detox center.

“We knew them by name,” he said.

Council member Brian Condie also expressed concern over the possibility of funding a detox center that serves too many people who live outside Garfield County.

“If you build it, they will come,” he said.

Data show that 20% of substance-related emergency room visits at Valley View and Grand River Health are from people who live outside of Garfield County.

“The more people that we have in there, the less it’s going to cost us, because the more billing we can do,” Wilde said.

Wilde also said the new detox facility offers a 24/7 service.

With the new center, people undergo withdrawals and detoxification and are connected to critical treatment resources, Wilde said. Only when the beds are full is there a chance people are sent to detox centers in Mesa and Pitkin counties.

Mind Springs Health Outpatient Program Director Hans Lutgring said having a detox center in Garfield County helps create a pathway to treatment.

“This is really, really important, because we don’t have this, and we’re stressing our hospital systems, our EMTs, our police departments,” he said. “ But this is a necessary feature that’s been missing.”

Rifle’s commitment to the Glenwood Springs detox center is a short-term commitment, which kicks in in 2023. In addition, the city is committing $1,888 from opioid settlements managed by Colorado.

Reporter Ray K. Erku can be reached at 612-423-5273 or rerku@citizentelegram.com.

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