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Our mission is to reverse the trend of mass incarceration in Colorado. We are a coalition of nearly 7,000 individual members and over 100 faith and community organizations who have united to stop perpetual prison expansion in Colorado through policy and sentence reform.

Our chief areas of interest include drug policy reform, women in prison, racial injustice, the impact of incarceration on children and families, the problems associated with re-entry and stopping the practice of using private prisons in our state.

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Wednesday, August 15, 2007

C Springs Losing Treatment Program

Thanks to Colorado Confidential for publishing this story and the comments that went with it. (I can't believe that people are still that mean and unrelenting.)

Local officials must find a new treatment home for low-income pregnant women hooked on drugs or alcohol because the El Paso County Health and Environment Department is abandoning its remaining substance abuse treatment program to refocus its mission.

The department’s program, dubbed the “McMasters Clinic,” was left over from the 1970s era of health departments’ straying from their original task of maintaining the health of communities, not individuals, director Rosemary Bakes-Martin said.

El Paso and Boulder counties are the only two that receive state funding for substance abuse treatment programs.

But now with tuberculosis and other potential publichealth crises to get a handle on, Bakes-Martin and her crew will wash their hands of Mc-Masters by July 1.

“Really what public health should be doing is providing the information and helping the local health providers,” Bakes-Martin said.

She added that substance abusers will be better treated at facilities capable of treating the whole person, rather than just the addiction.

Five years ago, the department offered eight treatment services. Adult counseling and a program for pregnant women are the only remaining programs the department offers.

“It is a loss for us,” said Annette Fryman, senior vice president of Connect Care, a local nonprofit charged with managing state and federal funding for substance abuse programs. “It is going to be incumbent upon us to find someone who does it just as well.”

While Fryman said there are plenty of treatment facilities that can take over the health department’s adult counseling program, Connect Care is in the process of finding a facility capable of taking over the department’s treatment of low-income pregnant women who are substance abusers.

Bakes-Martin began paring down the program in 2002 when the Colorado Springs Treatment Center opened. Both were offering methadone treatment, used to care for heroin addicts.

The health department saw the treatment as too expensive for there to be overlap in the community and transferred its methadone clients to the treatment center.

“Was it hard on clients in the beginning?” Fryman said. “Probably. But they transitioned fine, and they are getting their needs met.”

The methadone transfer cut the health department’s client roster in half, from 1,230 admissions in 2001 to 614 admissions in 2004.

In that same period, the department went from swallowing $1.2 million of the cost to run McMasters to $270,000.



Anonymous said...

Havaen't seen you report the fact that Grand Junction has lost its only parolee facility. Maybe there was an article in the Grand Junction paper.

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