New detox facility will help drug addicts

Kicking a severe drug habit can be life threatening, but a new Medford treatment facility that will open in September should help local residents on the path to recovery.

“Any type of cold-turkey quitting is dangerous,” said Joe Wilson, communications coordinator with Addictions Recovery Center.

The cost to open the eight-bed center is $325,000, paid with grants from AllCare Health Plan Inc., Jackson Care Connect, Asante and Providence Medford Medical Center, as well as public and private donations. Wilson said the center, which will be located in the Jackson County sobering unit on Front Street, should be self-sustaining after its first year of operation.

Construction of the 2,000-square-foot center is underway. ARC is looking for nurses and other specialists to man the facility, which will provide a highly monitored setting for local residents who require medical attention while they wean themselves from drug addiction. Some patients have life-threatening conditions when they stop taking drugs.

“It takes people under the influence of a drug and safely brings them down off the drug,” said Jim Shames, Jackson County medical director.

Dr. Darryl Inaba, ARC’s director of clinical and behavioral health services, said most of the patients who will use the center will have addictions to alcohol or narcotics such as opiates or prescription painkillers.

The center will provide another option for local residents who are seeking to end their addictions.

Those with drug and alcohol problems currently can go to the emergency room, but that’s an expensive option. Other choices include drug treatment facilities in Eugene or Portland.

“Your choices are emergency rooms or leaving the area,” Wilson said.

The sobering unit is being remodeled to handle the new treatment facility. Patients will be assessed to determine the best treatment option. Some might be given medication for withdrawal. When a patient is admitted, the staff will determine how long treatment should last.

Wilson said ARC will work closely with other health care providers, including Jackson County Health and Human Services, to determine the candidates who would be eligible for treatment at the facility.

Shames said the community needs a detox facility. He said the existing sobering unit doesn’t offer the kind of medical care some patients need to safely wean themselves from their addiction.

Even with the detox center, some patients may end up in emergency rooms if they are suffering from severe reactions to drug withdrawal, Shames said.

Many drug addicts can stop doing drugs without requiring medical attention, Shames said.

“Other people can’t safely do it,” he said.

Reach reporter Damian Mann at 541-776-4476 or Follow him on Twitter at

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