Alcohol, repeat admissions show in first year of Grand Forks' public detox center

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GRAND FORKS, N.D. (Valley News Live) The numbers are in for the first year of the public detox center in Grand Forks.

"We're the only stand-alone detox center in the community," said Curtis Scanson who runs the public detox center. "We want to help and provide that first step for people to get into recovery."

The 9 bed facility is free to anyone who walks in. But, it's costing tax payers $350,000 per year to keep open. Scanson said that's a worthwhile investment.

"You know, we're also here keeping people alive, too," Scanson said. "That's 450 people that could've been out in the cold freezing to death that didn't have to be."

In 2017, there were around 450 admissions. However, there were only 136 people that used the facility, meaning many people were using the facility multiple times.

"As the numbers show, we have quite a few people who need to be there multiple times before they started building that recovery. Because, not everyone recovers at the same time," Scanson said.

Scanson said there's no hard numbers on the amount of people that have gained sobriety that have come through the public detox center. He said there's also no facts on the amount of money it's saving law enforcement and healthcare officials that previously had to handle the people the center serve.

"We're still able to reach people that might not have been reached before," Scanson said.

Scanson said the vast majority of the people they see are abusing alcohol. They have seen a little meth and opioid abuse as well. He said they've only ever had to turn people away because of capacity issues a couple of times.