Aspen’s Right Door poised to close |

Aspen’s Right Door poised to close

Rick CarrollThe Aspen TimesAspen CO Colorado
Aspen Times fileThe future looks dim for The Right Door, a drug and alcohol rehabilitation program in Aspen, says its founder, Brad Osborn. He resigned as executive director of the program in May.

ASPEN – The future of Aspen’s Right Door drug and alcohol rehabilitation program is in jeopardy because of financial problems, officials said Thursday.A letter detailing the program’s pending closure was sent out last week by the organization’s founder Brad Osborn and board chair, Charles Kennedy. The letter says that The Right Door will “cease operation” on Jan. 1, 2012. In an interview Thursday, Osborn said he has not lost hope for The Right Door, but currently its future looks dim. Part of the reason is that one of The Right Door’s key financial contributors cut ties with the organization earlier this year. The contributor, a private foundation, had given the group $100,000 annually as part of a three-year commitment that expired earlier this year, Osborn said.”We are just not prepared to keep it going,” he said. “We could start cutting programming but we’ve cut so much already that we have bare bones.”The Right Door’s costs are primarily associated with pay for its 10-member staff, said Osborn, who tendered his resignation as the executive director in May. He has stayed aboard, however, doing clinical work. The Right Door, which operates out of the Schultz Health & Human Services building off Castle Creek Road, launched in October 2003. It was the result of a growing demand for a professional help-center for substance abusers.It also has close ties to Pitkin County’s court system and local law enforcement. Oftentimes habitual drug offenders and problem drinkers receive court orders to participate in The Right Door’s treatment programs. While The Right Door does not have an in-patient program, it has referred substance abusers to other facilities.It also provides patients with transportation to detoxification centers and other treatment programs, case management and counseling, and other aspects of recovery from substance abuse and addiction. Right Door participants pay a fee based on a sliding scale.”We try not to turn anybody away,” said Osborn, who oftentimes will appear in court to address the judge about the progress of a court-ordered, Right Door participant. This year The Right Door’s budget is $535,000, down from $750,000 in 2010 and 2009, Osborn said. While the organization’s budget has been trimmed significantly, the demand for its services has not, he said. “Consistently we have been providing services to 1,100 and 1,200 individuals annually for the last four years,” Osborn said. “And besides the work we’ve down with local law enforcement, the legal system and [Aspen Valley Hospital], we’ve worked with employers helping them with drug testing needs for pre-employment.”The letter, which was sent to judges, prosecutors, and health-care professionals, among others, says: “The Right Door, in many ways, appears to be a victim of its own success. The demand for the services we provide has outstripped our ability to fund the various programs. Like many organizations we have not been able to make up a significant loss in funding during these difficult economic times.”Osborn said it would take $200,000 for The Right Door to gain financial stability. He said there are talks of potential mergers and other arrangements, but nothing has come to fruition. Donations have been down the last two years, though the city and county have helped with grants, Osborn said. “We went through a whole process where we applied for grants all over the country,” he said. “We hired a professional grant writer to help us research it. We tried just about everything we could but we’re not having success with fundraising. We’ve had a couple of good fundraising events but we’ve never had that one event to find some stability.”

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