The creation of a local detoxification facility has been stalled in the past by two hurdles -- lack of funding and "not-in-my-backyard" position from the public.
Earlier this month, our Cenpatico Behavioral Heath of Arizona was awarded more than $660,000 to establish an outpatient detox facility in Payson and provide post-treatment support to recovering addicts.
That money represents the first hurdle.
As for the second hurdle, we encourage those who may oppose the creation of this facility to take a second look.
We are fighting a tide of drug and alcohol abuse in this area.
In 2006, police made more than 100 drug arrests, the majority of those were for meth possession or sale.
Jason Hazelo, special enforcement officer under the Meth Enforcement Program for the Payson Police Department said in an interview with the Roundup, in 2006, they have found seven children under the age of 10 who tested positive for meth because their parents smoked the drug in front of them.
Denying drug addicts and alcoholics the help they need will not solve the problem or make it go away.
Instead, we should support our neighbors in their efforts to recover and return to our community sober.
In 2006, State House Bill 2554 set aside $3 million in the 2007 fiscal year General Fund to "stem the growth of methamphetamine and other substance abuse." Of that $3 million, 58 percent was to be used for rural detoxification programs and follow-up services.
Months ago, Cenpatico Behavioral Heath of Arizona wrote a grant to the Arizona Department of Health Services requesting funding for a local detox facility.
The Arizona Department of Health Services recognized the need and awarded the grant. A detox facility is expected to be open by the end of 2007 at 803 W. Main St. in the green building that is now an outreach group home.
There is no doubt that such a facility is needed. It will be run by Community Bridges, a service provider for Cenpatico. For more than a decade, the staff of Rim Guidance Center has taken detox and recovery patients from Payson to Community Bridges of Mesa. This is the first time Community Bridges will actually operate in Payson.
The detox facility will focus on alcohol and pharmaceutical addiction, while the after-care program will focus on meth and other addictions.
The construction of this facility fills a huge gap in our community.
Currently, Rim Guidance Center in Payson pays three full-time staffers to transport people in need of detox and drug treatment to Phoenix, Tucson or Flagstaff.
Rim Guidance makes as many as 10 trips a week. The nonprofit owns three vans just for this purpose.
Having a local detox facility for people battling substance abuse will increase their success rate in beating whatever addiction is destroying their lives.
We congratulate Cenpatico for securing funds for this facility and we urge the community to support this effort.