The Edmond Sun


May 21, 2009

State spends $56 million for 2008 treatment

EDMOND — If you have a family member or a friend needing treatment for drug addiction you may be wondering what a state-operated facility is like.

Anyone thinking the 62-bed Norman Alcohol and Drug Treatment Center resembles an "institution" is mistaken, said Wynema Ra, executive director of the largest publicly operated facility in the state.

"It's not like being in an institution," Ra said.

Staff members have worked to give the center a welcoming environment, Ra said.

The Need for Treatment

Pam McKeown, spokeswoman for the Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services, said during fiscal year 2008 the agency spent $56.2 million on substance abuse treatment; federally funded treatment cost about $18 million.

McKeown said $6.4 million was spent on substance abuse prevention programs during the same year. Of this, $2.5 million were state appropriations and $3.86 million were federal prevention funds.

These numbers don't include gambling treatment, which runs less than $200,000, or specialty programs with the Department of Corrections. Primarily, these numbers reflect public treatment costs, and come directly from the agency's federal block grant proposal, McKeown said.

Getting Help

Individuals arriving at the Norman center go to the reception area, which includes a fish tank and a Cap Code design theme. While they wait for service, they are provided with snacks and a drink.

Someone will come and ask them some initial questions including what substance they were using, for how long, if they have any legal issues and their current housing status.

A nurse will review the information and then discuss options with the prospective client.

If admitted, the center's rules are presented to the client and family members. They include items clients may keep while there for treatment, visitation policy and phone call policy. New clients then get to spend some time with family.

After admission paperwork is completed, a "buddy" is assigned, who introduces them to staff members during a tour of the center. Following the tour, the client is shown to their bed.

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