Grand Jury identifies critical need for residential detoxification services
–In its most recent report, the 2016-17 San Luis Obispo Grand Jury identified an ever-increasing need for residential detox services in the county and the need for improving access for those with limited financial resources or for those covered by Medi-Cal or Medicare. The report,”How Long Will the Need Go Unfulfilled? Residential Detoxification in San Luis Obispo County,” states “The need for residential detox treatment for persons addicted to drugs and alcohol in San Luis Obispo County is evident every day by the large number of people going through withdrawal in our County’s Jail.”
Recognizing how the county jail serves as the de facto detox facility for many of the area’s lower income residents, the Grand Jury noted the jail’s lack of resources and focused commitment on addiction treatment—both of which are essential for meeting the needs of arrestees struggling with severe addiction. The report calls for:
- Specific changes in the jail to enhance delivery of detox services
- Potential use of vacated barracks on the jail grounds to create a residential detox treatment facility
- Piloting a police-led diversion program (such as the Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion) to enhance treatment participation by low-level substance-abusing offenders.
Observing how the pervasive and complex nature of addiction requires a chronic illness management approach in delivering needed detoxification services, the Grand Jury commended the county’s Drug and Alcohol Services for its commitment to establishing a comprehensive continuum of treatment services. Noteworthy are its current plans for a July implementation of the county’s Drug Medi-Cal Organized Delivery System, made possible through a federal waiver to Medicaid coverage under the Affordable Care Act.
The County Behavioral Health Department, the Sheriff, the District Attorney, and the San Luis Obispo City Police Chief are required to respond to respective findings and recommendations as specifically addressed to them.
The full transcript of Grand Jury report is available on the Grand Jury website. The website also provides information on how to apply to become to serve on the Grand Jury. It also has the “Grand Jury Citizen Complaint Form” available for the public to submit complaints regarding county issues to the Grand Jury.
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