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.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Denver neighbors concerned about planned methadone clinic on E. Colfax

 A planned medical clinic serving recovering drug addicts on East Colfax Avenue has upset some nearby residents, who are angry about, among other things, the proximity to Denver East High School.
The Denver Recovery Group, 2822 E. Colfax Ave., is under construction and could open sometime next month, but residents who live nearby and who have students attending East High School are worried about their children walking past the clinic, the possibility of increased crime, loitering and decreased property values.

"Having that activity doesn't strike me as a good idea," resident Alison Laevey said.
Residents will be able to get more information, ask questions and voice concerns at a meeting at 6:30 p.m. April 21 at East High School.

The Denver Recovery Group is a startup medical clinic that will provide medication and assistance to recovering addicts of heroin, painkillers and other drugs. One of the common treatment drugs is methadone, a synthetic opioid that helps patients kick heroin and morphine addictions. Methadone is not the only drug dispensed at the clinic.

The same owners also have a clinic in Las Cruces, N.M. called Alt Recovery Center.
Despite concerns, Denver Recovery Group partner Chad Tewksbury said the need is present in the area and he believes there is a misconception about the clientele.

"It's more dangerous to walk past the addicts already on Colfax," Tewksbury said. "No one is forced to come here. They're coming voluntarily."

Some of the surrounding neighborhoods also voiced concerns last year when a similar clinic moved to 1620 Gaylord St. from two blocks north. That clinic is part of Addiction Research and Treatment Services run by the University of Colorado School of Medicine. Addiction Research and Treatment Services executive director Tom Brewster said things have run smoothly since the clinic moved in October. He added that rather than increase crime, these facilities should help reduce crime and help the growing number of drug addicts in Denver.
"This is really a problem; we're trying to address it," Brewster said. "We can hardly keep up."

Another nearby clinic, the BHG Denver Downtown Treatment Center near 18th Avenue and Josephine Street, is scheduled to move in the coming months, leaving a void in the area.
Denver City Councilwoman Jeanne Robb, who represents the area, said she has met with several residents who are upset over the plans and her office is in the process of looking into how this is handled in other areas of the state and across the country.

"Unfortunately, right now we have no restrictions," Robb said. "It's classified as a medical clinic."
The zoning permit for the clinic was approved in January by the city and Tewksbury said he has a three-year lease.

Resident Robert Mutch said he and his wife had put about $150,000 into refurbishing his house, less than a block away from the clinic, but he's now considering moving rather than doing more work.
"All of the neighbors are just livid about it," he said.

Tewksbury said he chose this area because he collaborated with the State Opioid Treatment Authority and identified this as a place that needs this type of clinic. It's also on the bus route. He said he's already receiving calls asking when the clinic will open so clients can transfer.
"I'm passionate about what we're doing," he said.
Joe Vaccarelli: 303-954-2396, jvaccarelli@denverpost.com or twitter.com/joe_vacc
Community meeting:
Time: 6:30 p.m.
Date: Tuesday, April 21
Where: Denver East High School, 1600 City Park Esplanade

No comments: