Letter: Two-bed detox won’t cut it
I used to be employed by Colorado West (now Mind Springs Health) and witnessed firsthand the detox situation over the years. When I first started, they had 12 beds, then that number was cut in half due to cuts in state funding.
After that, the community “partners” were asked to contribute funds. This group was composed of all the cities/counties and hospitals in the valley from Aspen to Eagle to Parachute. Nobody was happy about it. When that scenario proved to be problematic, the detox was closed briefly. People realized yet again how important this facility is — especially in this valley due to the high rate of alcohol abuse and drug abuse — so a two-bed “room” was created at the jail. It was basically an old office that nobody was using. That was filled daily on a first-come, first-served basis.
A two-bed detox is ridiculous even to consider. You would need a minimum of six beds to accommodate the police department and hospital ER admissions alone. That is not including people who get DUIs and need somewhere to go because a sober party cannot be located.
As for who is going to pay for it, why not use a portion of the $66 million in state tax revenue on marijuana sales? If I remember correctly, that was one of the selling points to making marijuana legal in the state. This tax revenue would be used for substance abuse treatment, education, etc. If a detox doesn’t qualify, I don’t know what does.
The entire facility could be paid for with this tax and be kept operational as long as these taxes are collected. I for one would not support a new tax; we are already being taxed to death in this valley.
I will say that a second option should be taxing alcohol sales both in bars and stores. The liquor tax has not been raised in over 20 years. If you are going to tax marijuana, alcohol should be taxed too.
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