Who is the Colorado Criminal Justice Reform Coalition?

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.

If you would like to be involved please go to our website and become a member.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Jeffco Addiction Assessment Opens

The Jeffco Addiction Assessment Clinic (JAAC) opens June 1, 2009

The Jeffco Addiction Assessment Clinic (JAAC) opens at 7475 W. 5th Ave. in Lakewood on Monday, June 1, 2009 at 9:00 AM. JAAC will provide a faster, more appropriate and less expensive alternative than going to jail, detox, or an emergency room (or doing nothing) for the majority of individuals with alcohol and/or other drug abuse or dependence in Jefferson County. JAAC will provide walk-in, urgent care and crisis triage services for substance use disorders. The staff is licensed and certified and has been practicing in chemical dependency since 1984. JAAC will be offering state approved assessments (including alcohol and drug screens, and pregnancy testing), transfers, and admissions for adults, child welfare clients, minors, offenders and women.

Many Jefferson County residents, like their families as well as law enforcement officers and other first responders, the courts and human services, have requested more options than going to jail, detoxification, or the emergency department (or doing nothing) when an assessment for a substance use disorder is indicated. These other services and modalities are crucial to this community. However, they are time consuming, expensive and potentially unsafe and dangerous when not clinically, medically or legally necessary or appropriate. Many consumers would not be seen in an emergency department, taken to jail, or admitted to detox, except for a shortage of viable alternative resources.

An estimated 300 persons are seen for a behavioral health assessment per month in the emergency department at the only health care facility currently in Jefferson County (Lutheran Medical Center in Wheat Ridge until Saint Anthony Hospital moves to the Federal Center campus in Lakewood). More than 80 percent of these emergency department patients are discharged to home instead of being admitted or transferred to a lower level of care. As of February 2009, during an informal study conducted, the average wait in the emergency department from arrival time to final disposition was approximately eight hours. The cost for the evaluation alone is more than $500 in a published list of rates from Exempla. The emergency department charges a base rate of up to another $1,500 (not including any lab work such as urine toxicology and blood toxicology). Finally, the physician’s costs are an additional $600-$800 depending on amount of time the provider bills for. Therefore, the cost to have a substance abuse assessment in the emergency department in Jefferson County is at least $2,600.

Approximately 600 persons are admitted to the only non-hospital residential detoxification unit in Jefferson County every month based on statistics from Arapahoe House. The majority of these individuals are discharged in 12 hours or less when they have a blood alcohol level of .000 and no withdrawal symptoms. (Some stay for three days or longer. A far greater number are not even there for 12 hours.)

More than 750 people are arrested in Jefferson County every month as reported by the Sheriff's Department. According to the American Psychiatric Association, 76% of jail inmates have substance use disorders. Therefore, at least 876 inmates in the Jefferson County Detention Facility on any given day have a substance use disorder.

The National Surveys on Drug Use and Health estimates that 110,000 Colorado citizens report needing but not receiving treatment for illicit drug use within the past year.

JAAC will charge less than one tenth the minimum cost for a substance use disorder assessment in an emergency department.

JAAC will connect or match the client, hook them up, and make the link based on the assessment of needs after a detailed and thorough assessment. JAAC counselors are aware of formal and informal resources, how to network, and how to gain access for their clients. All JAAC clients will leave their assessment visit with a discharge plan that has the next step(s) listed. If clients are denied access to the agencies deemed clinically and financially appropriate by JAAC, JAAC assumes the responsibility of advocacy until the client is accepted, admitted or enrolled in the program(s) best suited for them. Follow-up monitoring (one free visit within 30 calendar days of initial contact) is also offered to all clients. If additional case management services of linking, advocacy, or even reassessment and planning update and review, are indicated, there is no charge for such care.

JAAC is centrally located in Jefferson County (1 block south east of W. 6th Ave. and Wadsworth Blvd.) with easy access by W. 6th Ave. as well as public buses that run north and south regularly on Wadsworth Blvd. from: Arvada, Bow Mar, Conifer, Edgewater, Evergreen, Golden, Indian Hills, Lakeside, Lakewood, Littleton, Morrison, Mountain View, Superior, Westminster and Wheat Ridge. Non residents of Jefferson County are eligible for JAAC services.

For more information, please call (303) 233-HELP (4357), email help@jeffcoaddiction.com, or visit the JAAC website at http://www.jeffcoaddiction.com/.