Pubdate: Sat, 18 Dec 2004
Source: Messenger-Inquirer (KY)
Copyright: 2004 Messenger-Inquirer
Author: James Mayse, Messenger-Inquirer
Bookmark: (Treatment)


Treatment Centers Would Focus On Homeless

Officials from Owensboro area substance abuse groups expressed support
this week for a plan to build several substance abuse treatment
centers across the state for the homeless and for people in danger of
becoming homeless from substance abuse.

The Louisville Courier-Journal reported last week the state is
planning to create up to 12 substance abuse treatment facilities
across Kentucky. A spokesman for the Kentucky Housing Corp. said
Friday that Gov. Ernie Fletcher would release more details about the
plan sometime after the first of the year.

Housing Corp. officials first announced the plan at a Nov. 23 meeting
hosted by the Green River Area Development District, said Debbie
Zuerner-Johnson, executive director of Community Solutions for
Substance Abuse.

"It was announced they are going to offer funds available for
communities ... to build from the ground up those peer-to-peer
recovery centers," Zuerner-Johnson said.

"Those facilities will contain in them ... a nonmedical detox and a
peer-to-peer recovery program," she said.

Owensboro substance abuse organizations, Zuerner-Johnson said, have
been interested in creating a detoxification and treatment center for
some time.

"We do not have a nonmedical detox" or a long-term treatment facility,
she said. Owensboro substance abuse officials, she said, are
interested in a treatment facility that would cater to male clients.

Owensboro Medical Health System has a medical detoxification program
for people suffering physical effects of withdrawal. Gary Lee,
director of behavioral health services at the hospital, said OMHS
would support having a nonmedical detoxification and treatment center
in Owensboro.

"We would encourage anything as to helping the homeless and providing
services needed for this community," Lee said. The city, Lee said,
needs a nonmedical detoxification facility.

"Right now, there are not those services available," he

Kathy Peters, chief administrative officer for the Kentucky Housing
Corp., said the organization is one of many state groups involved in
the plan.

"We've been involved in facilities such as these in the past," Peters
said Friday. Peters said there is "certainly" a need for substance
abuse treatment centers for the homeless.

"I think the governor will talk a lot about the need, and the
seriousness of the drug problem in Kentucky" when Fletcher discusses
the plan next year, Peters said.

The funding for the facilities will come from a variety of sources but
is still being discussed, Peters said. The Courier-Journal article
said $2.5 million in federal tax credits would be used in both 2005
and 2006 to build the facilities. Peters said she was not familiar
with that dollar amount.

"I don't even know where that number came from," she

The state plan is somewhat similar to a plan under study in Owensboro
to build a short-term detoxification facility. The proposal calls for
a facility, which is being tentatively called The Lifeboat, to provide
a temporary safe house for nonviolent men who need detoxification services.

The Lifeboat plan is different than the state's plan, in that the
state facilities would provide long-term substance abuse treatment.
Patrick Morton, chairman of the committee considering The Lifeboat
proposal, said Friday the group is still working on the plan.

Morton said The Lifeboat proposal has strong support but that he would
support the state's plan.

"I hope the governor and his team can get this going," Morton said. If
one of the facilities Fletcher is proposing were built in Owensboro,
Morton said there would "probably not" be need for a facility such as
The Lifeboat.

"It would be like duplicating services."
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