As Colorado’s largest drug and alcohol addiction treatment provider closes, other organizations are scrambling
The first rehab for heroin addiction didn’t work, nor the second. She left a 28-day program on day 24.
But after facing a judge and coming to a realization — “Either I was going to die or I was going to get well” — Kiyoka Tamesue finally ended up in a treatment that worked for her: an outpatient program at Arapahoe House where she could receive methadone.
For decades, Arapahoe House has served as the largest provider of and a last line of defense against addiction in the metro area, a place where the most in need can receive help. On Tuesday, after what its leaders say was years of financial struggle to keep up with demand, it will close its doors for good.
“It’s a tragedy,” said Tamesue, who now receives her methadone-assisted therapy at a different facility closer to home. “The crisis in this country has reached epidemic levels, but I don’t see enough money going toward it. With Arapahoe House closing, that’s just going to make the situation worse.”
Arapahoe House’s shutdown has sent a jolt through Denver’s community of treatment providers and those in recovery from addiction. Given short notice of the decision, which was announced a little more than two weeks ago, other facilities have been rapidly trying to make space for new patients and hire new treatment professionals to care for them. There are questions about whether every one of Arapahoe House’s patients — it served about 5,000 people a year at multiple facilities — will have a smooth transition to a new provider.
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