Daniel Chavez knows one of the biggest challenges facing people fighting addictions—a safe place to detox.
Local programs and centers don’t accept people who are detoxing, said Chavez, Community Medical Centers Respite Center manager. So, individuals may seek out treatment, but because they are in active withdrawal and not clean, they can’t access the services.
“Well, getting clean is the hardest part,” he said. “That’s the first step.”
To close the gap, Community Medical Centers has opened a 13-bed residential detox facility in downtown Stockton. CMC will be only the third out of 175 federally qualified health centers in California operating such a facility, according to the agency. The first four patients arrive on Monday.
The center, at 201 North Stanislaus Street, offers two separate dormitory-style rooms for eight men and five women, as well as a single occupancy room for special circumstances. It will be staffed 24 hours a day and offer comprehensive services, which will include case management, counseling, and group and individual therapy. Treatment will be at no cost to patients until grant funding ends on December 31, at which point patients can pay by Medi-Cal or sliding scale, Chavez said.
While most residential centers are 28 days, patients at the Respite Center will stay 14 days and then receive assistance to find long-term care.
“This is a monitored detox facility,” Chavez explained. “We are going to detox them, clean them up, educate them and set them up for services, and send them onto their next stage of treatment. Some will go into our outpatient program and others will go to a longer-term residential facility.
“But now all these doors open for them because they have 14 days clean, and they’ve been detoxed. We’re that missing piece right now.”
Stockton Mayor Kevin Lincoln, who was among various city and county leaders in attendance at an open house for the Respite Center Thursday, said he looks forward to the impact CMC is going to make to improve health outcomes in the city.
“This particular facility is one of the missing puzzle pieces to help people get on the pathway toward recovery and get them to take the next step toward healing,” he said. “I’m very excited about Community Medical Centers standing up this facility right here in the heart of our city.”
Chavez, who has been clean for five years, said when he was in the grip of addiction, he never thought he would get out. He finally sought services in Modesto, but the cost was $10,000 for 30 days. He was able to make a deal with the center and they agreed to let him wash dishes and pay $1,600 for treatment, but he understands how the cost is a burden preventing people from freeing themselves from addiction.
“The need here is so great,” Chavez said.
The facility has been providing outpatient care for several months and will continue doing so after the residential wing opens, according to CMC. Other services, include a detox center from 8 p.m. to 6 a.m. for individuals who need a safe place to sober up for the night instead of being placed in jail and offering injectable treatments for withdrawals.
People who are struggling to take their medication on-schedule can make an appointment to receive a once-a-month injection of Vivitrol, which is used to treat alcohol and some opioid withdrawals, instead of relying on daily medication, Chavez said. The Respite Center is the first site offering this service in the county. The first Vivitrol injection will be held today.
CMC’s Respite Center will operate on a first-come, first-served basis, with the first 13 patients who seek treatment receiving a spot in the facility. There will be a 20-person waitlist, but anyone wanting services will be connected with an outpatient program while a spot opens on the waitlist or facility.
Funding for the Respite Center came from California’s Safe Neighborhoods and Schools Act (Prop. 47), San Joaquin County’s Continuum of Care and San Joaquin County Behavioral Health Services. Eventually, CMC would like to expand to other cities where it has established facilities.