Sober and Clean Clinic a first step
December 4, 2007
Jim Gregoire wanted to help more people with The Sober and Clean Clinic at Trapper Fitness Center.
But, Gregoire said, addiction is more complicated than two sessions with a counselor.
“Alcohol and drug addiction is a long, tough road,” he said. “I would’ve liked to have helped more people, but we’re taking small steps here. You’ve got to chip away at these things sometimes.”
Gregoire manages Trapper Fitness, which hosted the free clinics during the past two weeks. He wanted a place to provide support and options for people looking to get clean.
The last meeting was Saturday.
Gregoire helped more people over the phone than he did in the clinics, he said.
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“We probably had a dozen people come to the gym over the two weeks, and I had two dozen call me on the phone,” Gregoire said.
And it happened as soon as word about the clinics got out, he added.
The day his clinics were advertised in local media, he spent his whole day at work talking to people on the phone. Then he started taking calls at home, he said.
He wasn’t disappointed by that. As long as people sought help, he wanted to help them, he said.
“There were a couple desperate people that, god, I wish I had won the lottery so I could have a limousine pick them up and take them to a detox center,” Gregoire said. “But, there is not anything in place between Steamboat and here to help people who want to sober up and need a place to go to detox.”
The closest detox treatment centers are in Glenwood Springs and Grand Junction, said Craig Mental Health Therapist Anthony Noble.
Although there is a facility in Steamboat Springs that accepts addicts looking to get clean, and the Moffat County Jail also accepts people looking to detox, neither are capable of handling medical concerns.
“There are potential danger issues for someone to detox if they have large amounts of a substance in their system,” Noble said.
The only medical centers in the area capable of treating an addict are the hospitals, and those are generally too expensive for someone who doesn’t have health insurance, Gregoire said.
The Memorial Hospital will admit someone to the hospital or the emergency room if they ask for help, and the hospital will provide the best care possible, said Samantha Johnston, TMH service excellence officer.
However, TMH cannot provide the same care as a dedicated detox center, she said.
“Because we’re an acute care facility, we don’t have the specialists for long-term detox,” Johnston said. “For somebody who needs detox and rehab, they are better served by going to a place where they have the specialists for that kind of treatment.”
As far as cost, a 24-hour hospital stay – including the room, meals, observation and nursing care – is $714 a day.
Any prescription medication, medical procedures or emergency room treatment would be extra, Johnston said. Patients also have the option of going to the special care unit, which is more expensive but provides one-on-one nursing care.
Because of the limited medical options in the area, Gregoire plans to expand his clinic’s focus next year, which could happen in the summer.
“Next time, it won’t just be my experience,” he said.
Gregoire plans to work out a deal with the Northwest Colorado Visiting Nurse Association in Craig to provide the VNA’s diabetic patients with gym access in exchange for medical expertise in the Sober and Clean Clinic.
The trade-off makes perfect sense to Gregoire.
“We’re not selling used cars here,” he said. “We’re selling health and fitness.”
Sober and Clean was designed to approach addiction recovery as a lifestyle change, not just to get clean, but to take steps toward starting a healthy life.
Along those same lines, Gregoire plans to start obesity clinics early next year.
Titled “Too Big for Your Britches,” the free meetings will include a psychotherapist, doctor and nutritionist to help locals lose unhealthy weight.
“When I first looked into the obesity problem, I did not realize it was as complex as it is,” Gregoire said. “It’s environmental, genetic, emotional sometimes.”
Craig is due for such a class, he added.
“There are a lot of obese people on this side of the valley,” Gregoire said.
The obesity clinics will start when the course can be outlined correctly.
“We want to reach out, but we want to have something that will work, so we’re not going to jump right into it,” Gregoire said.
The gym also has a prenatal clinic in the works, Gregoire said. For that, the gym would promote healthy living for women and have a prenatal exercise specialist available.
The clinics are part of an initiative handed down by Gene Bilodeau, Colorado Northwest Community College Craig Campus dean.
“Gene wanted this facility to reach out into the community for wellness,” Gregoire said. “That’s what we’re doing.”
Collin Smith can be reached at 824-7031, ext. 209, or firstname.lastname@example.org