Thursday, January 24, 2008
Anderson reports on status of alcohol treatment facility
By SUE WATSON
There is still hope that Marshall County will get a primary care alcohol and drug treatment facility, Gary Anderson said in a January report to the board of supervisors.
In a recent visit with officials with the state director of the State Alcohol and Drug Abuse Agency, Herbert Loving, and a subsequent tour of the Vicksburg and Brandon facilities, Anderson said the Mississippi Legislature can amend language in a bond bill requested by Marshall County and ask for an alcohol and drug treatment facility for both inpatient and outpatient services.
The Brandon and Vicksburg facilities were built at a cost of $1.2 million, he said. The bond bill approved by the state for a mental health crisis center has a $2 million authorization.
Anderson said he was told that both Marshall County and DeSoto County are under-served areas, and that mental health supports the new services.
Currently clients either go to privately-owned A&D treatment facilities or public facilities like the Haven House facility in Oxford.
Anderson said the mental health director does not believe the department will have to go back and ask for an allocation of money for the A&D facility, but that the request in the approved bond bill can be modified.
The Department of Mental Health provides services for all types of mental stress, Anderson said.
“A&D will be able to diagnose on the front end and determine what types of substances are being used (by the addict) and other mental health problems,” Anderson said. “The sheriff will take the person suffering from mental psychosis, but will place the person in another facility equipped to do so. So, this will relieve the sheriff at the jail (from the requirement to house mentally ill patients).”
Anderson said a 25-bed facility like the one in Brandon and Vicksburg has 20 people on the payroll.
“I expect we could have a similar facility here,” he said.
Getting the language change in the legislation is the first requirement for moving from a crisis intervention facility to an A&D treatment facility, he said. The next step will be to get the A&D facility in the legislative budget as a line item.
Anderson said the Legislature uses both state revenues and Medicaid dollars to pay the costs of construction.
He said the county will have to provide a suitable site for the facility which includes being located near a hospital where clients can go first for medication for their addiction.
“It requires close cooperation with a hospital,” he said.
Supervisor Keith Taylor asked Anderson who could use the facility - would only Mississippians be eligible for services?
Anderson said mental health service providers like to take the addict from their environment for some time while they get treatment.
“The counties like to remove the person from the environment they are in, so the facility will receive people from other areas and people here could go there,” he said.
Another benefit of an A&D facility is the drug court can order an addict to treatment rather than jail.
The Vicksburg facility served 280 clients last year, he said.
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