Plans for much needed Detox Center are underway

LAREDO, TX (KGNS) - Like any other growing city, there are social and health concerns that impact the daily lives of those in our community, one of those happen to be substance abuse.

The Detox Center is a multi-governmental project ten years in the making, and KGNS was able to get an update on where the plans stand on this much needed facility.

"1,000 calls in general for substance use disorders in 2018 that LPD responded to,” said Doctor Gonzalez with the City of Laredo Health Department. “Over 200 of those were actual overdose calls, so we have a problem."

Those 200 cases were able to get the immediate help they needed and save their lives, according to Dr. Gonzalez. He highlights the need for the Detox Center.

"We already have the brick and mortar, we already have some of the ideal divisions there with rooms because we have to have a dormitory, we have to have a kitchen, we have to have bathrooms, we have to have showers."

The Health Department Director thanks the dedication of the drug and alcohol commission in spearheading the project two years ago when it surveyed local organizations on the needs of the community.

"And the one gap that was universal was that we didn't have a Detox Center here."

Webb County has come forward and donated the building of the former youth village to be converted into the center. Now they are reviewing applications from architects to bring the facility up to Texas standards. As far as the operation costs for a psychiatrist, medical provider, nurses, and other, the cost could reach an annual $1.5 million.

"City council did approve in this budget cycle, which started October 1st, every municipal citation $20 dollars is being allocated per ticket for the operation side."

The city estimates that will help with about $500,000 to $700,000 per year.

During 2017, the City experienced an unusual high number of deaths due to overdoses, with the number reaching over 40.

According to Doctor Gonzalez, the average numbers normally reach to about 20 to 25 overdoses, however that is still about two dozen people that the community loses to this epidemic.

As it stands, the Detox Center would begin service with a total of twelve beds for adults, and six beds for adolescents.