Pitkin County detox may branch into Garfield County | AspenTimes.com

Pitkin County detox may branch into Garfield County

Ryan Summerlin
Glenwood Springs Post Independent

A Pitkin County detox service may soon expand into Garfield County with the help of commissioners and Valley View Hospital.

Recovery Resources LLC, which currently offers detox and case management services in Aspen, approached the Garfield County commissioners about extending their services farther downvalley. The organization already had the blessing of Valley View’s emergency department medical director.

Commissioners received the idea with open arms, though details of this arrangement still have to be hammered out. But for starters, Janelle Duhon, of Recovery Resources, suggested that Garfield County should work out a system for utilizing the organization’s vacant beds in Pitkin County. And one of the organization’s strengths is the revenue it generates through drug testing, supporting its own budget for detox services.

Commissioner Tom Jankovsky was quick to point out that the county has money available to spend on detox services — and might even have a location available if Recovery Resources wants to expand into Garfield County. Jankovsky said he hoped the county and Recovery Resources could get a Garfield County detox center running in the next year.

Duhon said that 40 percent of Recovery Resources’ admissions were successfully transitioned into treatment, an important step in achieving recovery in a patient beyond the initial detox.

“The number of alcohol and substance abuse patients, and behavioral health patients in crisis, they are overwhelming our emergency department. There is no question about it,” said Ben Peery, medical director at Valley View’s emergency department. “We are your detox center, but at a tremendous cost to the community.”

Kathy Whitman, Valley View substance abuse and crisis coordinator, said this year the hospital has seen 206 emergency-room cases related to substance abuse and intoxication. Of those, 137 were people already showing alcohol withdrawal symptoms, 12 stemmed from substance abuse, 39 were cases of people over the legal limit of blood-alcohol content and 18 were people who came in seeking detox.

Using the detox beds in Pitkin County would be a great first start to alleviate Garfield County’s problem, as it’s easier to transport them to Aspen than anywhere else, said Whitman.

Recovery Resources’ “program is one of the more successful ones I’ve seen in 10 years,” said Peery. “They’ve made huge strides with very difficult patients. It’s impressive.”

“We are very excited at Valley View about the model they are presenting,” he said. “We are 100-percent willing to partner with that, because it’s such an encompassing process.”

Duhon said Recovery Resources has frequently received calls from people in Garfield County trying to place someone in their Aspen detox, but they’ve had to turn them away. “And it’s heartbreaking. We want to help as many people as we can.”