Medford, County at Odds Over Drug Center 

Medford, County at Odds Over Drug Center 
Posted by FoM on January 24, 2000 at 13:30:50 PT
Closing the detox center could save $130,000
Source: The Oregonian
The City Council has voted to ask the county to postpone closure of a center that helps about 250 alcoholics and drug addicts a year. Jackson County Health and Human Services Director Hank Collins said he plans to close in mid-February the program that provides addicts up to a week of free food and shelter. 
Collins said there are doubts about whether the program helped clients get into long-term treatment programs. He also said the closure could save the budget-strapped county $130,000 a year. "Can we afford to continue to give three hots and a cot to people who are not going to do anything about their addiction?" Collins said. But Medford City Council member Bill Moore, former manager of a drug and alcohol treatment center, opposed the move, saying those who could least afford to be without the services would be hurt most. "My response is that a lot of people, the street people, people who have dementia, people with long-term mental illness, people with late-stage alcoholism . . . are going to be out there without any resources at all." Spurred by Moore, the City Council on Thursday unanimously agreed to send a resolution asking Jackson County commissioners to postpone the closure until an alternative can be found. Moore was joined in opposition by state Sen. Lenn Hannon, R-Ashland. "I have strong feelings against closing it because of what I perceive as a shift in costs," said Hannon, who is a recovering alcoholic. "If a police officer picks up somebody who is intoxicated and uses a jail or hospital bed instead of a detox center bed, my concern is that it really does not save any money." Facing a $1.2 million to $1.8 million budget shortfall, county commissioners last week authorized Collins to close the center. Acting county Administrator Susan Slack said commissioners are convinced that the cut was justified. "Not very many people are taking advantage of this," Slack said. MEDFORD Sunday, January 23, 2000 2000 Oregon Live.
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