Summit County: Detox facility faces $41K budget shortfall |

Summit County: Detox facility faces $41K budget shortfall

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Summit Safe Haven, the county’s detoxification facility is facing a more than $41,000 budget shortfall for 2011.

The organization gets most of its approximately $300,000 budget from contributions from local police departments, the sheriff’s office, local governments and hospitals. The detox facility also receives some state and federal aid.

“There is not a consistent funding source for a program like this that currently is in place in Summit County,” said Kathy Davis, a program director with Colorado West Regional Mental Health Inc., the nonprofit organization that runs Summit Safe Haven.

The social detox center provides a safehouse for people who have binged on alcohol or controlled substances or individuals experiencing a mental health crisis. The facility, established three years ago, helps alleviate crowding at the Summit County Jail, where people were taken under similar circumstances in the past.

In addition to keeping individuals under supervision and providing a safe place for them to sober up, the detox facility also provides in-patient and out-patient counseling services as well as a discharge plan to put clients on a healthy course.

“People end up in detox for a lot of different reasons,” Davis said. “For a lot of people that’s their low point, that’s their bottom that they’ve hit. It’s a teachable moment and that’s why we have the counselors there. It can be that moment for them that’s going to make all the difference in the world. So we try to take advantage of that.”

Before the detox facility was established, individuals brought in by law-enforcement officers who were not being charged were kept in a separate room in the county jail to sleep or, if space was limited were sometimes kept in holding cells. State law mandates that intoxicated individuals or those on drugs be separated from the general public until they sober up.

“(Summit Safe Haven) is a much better alternative than keeping those people in the jail,” county manager Gary Martinez said. “It ties up jail space and we’d rather not have those individuals there if we can.”

Martinez said the facility’s budget shortfall is a concern for the Summit Board of County Commissioners because the detox center provides an important service for the county and alleviates financial and crowding burdens on the county jail.

Colorado West Regional Mental Health will try to address the shortage through grants and other fundraising. Martinez said the commissioners also discussed possible solutions, but have not yet come to any conclusions.

Summit Safe Haven is also a mental health triage facility that provides a cost-saving option for both the patient and the county. Individuals experiencing a mental health crisis who might otherwise be taken to emergency rooms outside the county can be treated at Summit Safe Haven.

The facility, along with contributions from state and local government entities, looks to public donations to help meet operating costs. To get involved with Summit Safe Haven either by volunteering or donating, contact program coordinator Michelle Flake at (970) 668-9100.

SDN reporter Caddie Nath can be contacted at (970) 668-4628 or at

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