Letters to the Editor

San Luis Obispo County is lacking adequate residential detox facility

The expansion of alcohol and other drug treatment services by San Luis Obispo County is a very positive step, and I applaud the county for taking it.

However, an important element of a comprehensive approach to treatment appears to be lacking, at least according to The Tribune’s story (“SLO County drug, alcohol treatment programs to get major expansion,” Aug. 11): residential detox.

In an ideal treatment system, residential detox is an essential component and an important first stop for many sufferers of addiction.

Also ideally, there should be enough detox beds so a bed is available when requested, without a waitlist.

During the seven years that I served on the Drug and Alcohol Advisory Board, we passed a resolution recommending that the county institute a residential detox program — which passed even though it went against what the staff wanted.

Our recommendation was endorsed by the Board of Supervisors, but no action was ever taken, and addiction sufferers needing residential detox continued to be sent to Santa Maria. Now the board has endorsed the expansion.

But what about detox? Will clients needing detox continue to be sent to Santa Maria? Or will the county at last decide to provide this long-needed and essential service?

John Lovern, Arroyo Grande