Treatment center could meet needs

The recovery propositions for drug addicts in Craig are limited, but some officials hope to change that.

If a drug addict in Craig seeks rehabilitation help tomorrow, there is not a facility in the Yampa Valley that will offer inpatient services.

Colorado West Mental Health Inc. offers an enhanced outpatient treatment that provides once-weekly, one-on-one therapy, as well as group sessions twice weekly, but outpatient service is the only rehabilitation option within 200 miles.

F. Neil Folks, the chairman for the Friendship Outreach Community, thinks this type of treatment is not enough. Folks think the outpatient focus programs sometimes do not do enough to help patients stay off methamphetamines. To be successful, Folks said, patients should be treated for a minimum of a year, possibly more.

"We need the time to change the person's core values," he said. "We need enough time to make this transition."

Folks sees several problems with trying to get a drug rehab center in Craig. He said a lot of the recovering addicts would still be very vulnerable because drug dealers in Craig are everywhere.

"There's not enough distance between a safe haven and the drug dealers," he said. "There is no way to escape the dealer. They know exactly who they are looking for."

Funding may be another challenge that proponents of a center will face.

Mike Flannery, the strategist for self-improvement and change coordinator for White River Counseling in Meeker, said getting funding to build a recovery center is the tough part. He said it is tough to get public funding for recovery centers, and it's definitely hard to get private funding.

"It's certainly possible," he said. "It's just going to take some work."

Folks isn't against a drug rehabilitation center in Craig, but he thinks that to help meth addicts, it will take more than a rehab center -- it will take a community effort.

"We need tremendous community awareness and support," he said. "It will take more of us than just working with the wounded person, it's going to take the whole community."

Doug Seward, a certified massage therapist and licensed acutherapist, sees a definite need for a drug treatment center in Craig. Seward recently has been working with willing Communities Overcoming Methamphetamine Abuse members using Auriculo Therapy at Dr. Carolyn Gochee's office. Auriculo therapy, a therapy used on heroine addicts in the 70s and 80s, involves treating patients with electrical therapy through their ears to help with drug addiction. Seward said the therapy has been very successful with meth users. Unfortunately many users cannot commit to regular treatment because of prior legal matters. Nevertheless, Seward would welcome a rehab center.

"It would be fantastic," he said. "Craig seems like a good place for it."

Annette Gianinetti, an administrative assistant in the Moffat County Sheriff's Office, has been working closely with Seward and said it's not tough to find people who are willing to try Seward's program. Gianinetti thinks a rehab facility would help the whole region.

Former Mayor Dave DeRose said the cost for people to get help from a facility is very expensive because the closest inpatient service is more than 150 miles away. A treatment center in the area immediately would help Northwest Colorado and surrounding states would be greatly affected, he said.

Ron Spangler, the human resource manager for Twentymile Coal Co. said he has put employees through rehab and has seen mixed results, but for the most part, it has been a success.

"In most cases people have been successful to date," he said.

Although Spangler has had success with people in rehab, he said rehab centers will be helpful only if the staff of the treatment center is truly dedicated.

"It's so people dependent," he said. "The staff will make it or not."

DeRose also said he would like a treatment center in Craig so local people could get treated. Although less than six percent of meth addicts actually recover, DeRose doesn't see this as wasted money. He thinks that if Craig got a recovery center, more people would be willing to go to rehab and less people would use meth.

Mike Fuller, a local DJ, and DeRose saw an opportunity to possibly bring a drug rehabilitation facility to Craig.

Fuller recently interviewed a producer from NBC about its new reality television show,"Three Wishes." The premise for the show grants a community one wish and two individuals from the community a wish. After seeing the problems Craig had with recovering drug addicts and listening to Fuller's interview, DeRose sent an e-mail about a week ago to the show detailing Craig's problem. DeRose received an e-mail back saying they received his message, but he hasn't heard back from them since.

Fuller also has tried to contact the producer recently, but he hasn't had any luck. He said the producer was looking for a town in Colorado and especially was interested in finding a town in Northwestern Colorado.

Whether Craig gets lucky and "Three Wishes" comes to town, Fuller said the bottom line is that Craig needs a treatment center.

"We need a treatment facility," he said. "We need one closer to home that is less expensive. It will benefit communities with another option that's not so far away."

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