Detox facilities overwhelmed

KSN News.

WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – It’s a growing problem all across the country, and right here in Kansas – drugs.

The increase in cases is overwhelming detox centers and even filling up other agencies in the community.

The jail is often where people in need of detox end up when they commit crimes, simply because there are not enough beds available at actual treatment facilities.

Many detox centers have closed since the early 80’s because of a lack of funding, and it’s having a ripple effect.

Angela Russell says before her relapse, she was two years clean. It was the same night the 37-year-old says she knew she needed detox.

“I would have been gone, it would have turned in from smoking, to shooting up, to selling, to robbing, and then where would I be, back in prison and my daughter wouldn’t have a mother,” said Angela Russell of Wichita.

She went to the Substance Abuse Center of Kansas. Although she was worried about being turned away for only using one time, she wasn’t. Others aren’t so lucky.

“They want help and we want to get them as quickly as we can it may take a few days or a few hours,” said Harold Casey, Substance Abuse Center of Kansas CEO.

Harold Casey, the CEO of the center, says they could double the number of beds, and they would still be full. He says they opened this detox unit about 18 months ago with COMCARE, but still turn people away. Alternatives are medical detox at a hospital, waiting, or for some…jail has become a place for people to sober up.

“We have 253 people out of county as of today, and we have some individuals sleeping on cots in the gymnasium because we’re overcrowded,” said Sheriff Jeff Easter, Sedgwick County Sheriff’s Office.

And he says a night in jail is no substitute for treatment, exactly what helped Russell get back on the right path.

“I’m really thankful for it,” said Russell.

The Substance Abuse Center of Kansas encourages people to call every hour to get into detox.

Casey hopes the state will also help them expand sometime in the future.