The Florida Legislature has approved nearly 11 million dollars in new adult substance abuse funding statewide. That means an additional two million dollars for treatment in Southwest Florida. But, it’s not enough to end the region’s waiting list.
Even with a pending 45 percent increase in state funding for adult substance abuse treatment, the region’s needs remain. Today, Southwest Florida addiction services will ask the Lee Memorial Hospital board to help it build a new detox center.
The agency - also known as SWFAS - has only 17 detox beds. That’s 1 for about every 35 thousand adults at-risk in Lee, Charlotte, Hendry and Glades counties. So its director, Kevin Lewis, says patients end up where they shouldn’t.
“In some cases they end up in local emergency rooms where they are a tremendous drain on resources there and it’s really the wrong place for them to be. In other cases they end up in our local crisis stabilization units in Charlotte county and Lee county where again, wrong place to be, not the right fit. And some will actually end up in local jails.”
About 800 people in need of detoxification end up in Lee Memorial’s emergency room each year. The hospital system’s board votes today to give SWFAS 75,000 dollars over three years to help build a larger facility on land the city of Fort Myers donated. It has already raised about 2.5 million toward that goal.
Southwest Florida Addiction Services or SWFAS will ask the Lee Memorial Hospital Board for 75-thousand dollars today to help it build a 40-bed detoxification facility in Fort Myers.
The region’s population has outgrown the current 17-bed detox center and people in-need end up in the emergency rooms, mental health facilities and even jail.
The city of Fort Myers donated four acres of land. SWFAS has raised 2-point-5 million dollars. SWFAS Director Kevin Lewis says it’s also getting a million dollar state grant to make the new center a hurricane shelter.
“Our intent is to design a building that will function as a hurricane shelter as well. Presently we have to shut down that service for several days at a time when a hurricane threatens. And that leaves folks literally in Lee, Charlotte, Hendry and Glades counties no place to go.”
While in detox, patients are medically managed and monitored so they can be safely withdrawn from alcohol and other drugs. They also get motivational and other counseling to alter their lifestyles.
Currently there’s room for only 1 person for about every 35 thousand adults at-risk in the area. This year, lawmakers realized the need and appropriated nearly 11 million dollars in new adult substance abuse funding statewide. That’s a 45 percent increase locally.
Thursday, 29 June 2006 01:00