Not Enough Beds At Treatment Centers

There have been several alcohol and drug related crashes in recent weeks.

Many times, those offenders have multiple convictions, especially for driving under the influence.

Here in the Metro, treatment centers are always filled to capacity and it's not easy to get help.

Mark Dahir's attorney wanted his client to go to a treatment center last week as a condition of his bond.

That request was denied and Dahir remains in jail.

Tom Forst's attorney made the same request.

It was granted, but Forst remains in jail.

Both are multiple-dui offenders.

Neither man is currently getting the help he needs.

Bill Keck has walked in their shoes.

He's been sober for 32 years.

Keck now runs the treatment center at the Siena Francis House.

He said there's not enough long term treatment available.

"Everybody thought they could slide by without addressing it," he said. "We've known for a long time that this was going to happen and its sad seeing it happen with all these deaths and its going to keep getting worse unless treatment is developed and made available."

Eleanor Devlin is the Executive Director at NOVA Therapeutic Center.
"The idea of someone getting in for treatment the next day is probably not going to happen," she said.

Devlin said a lack of funding is a major issue.

"If we had funding we could expand the number of beds available but its not out there and the economy being what it is now, the future is not very bright," she said.

NOVA has ten people on its waiting list.

"Most of the treatment programs not only in Omaha but I think across the state have waiting lists particularly for the residential levels of care," she said.

Devlin and Keck say more beds for long-tern care are desperately needed.

"Yeah, we need a lot more," Keck said.

The lack of in-patient beds is highlighted from data by the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services.

According to 2009 numbers, there are 1,007 beds at in-patient facilities statewide.

In Omaha, there are 345... in Lincoln, 320 and twelve more are in Bellevue.

That's 677 in the area and many of those are not for long-term patients. Many programs have a minimum stay of four months, but others run 21 or 30 days.

Keck and Devlin both say short-term stays do not help patients change patterns and behaviors they have learned over a lifetime.

More treatment centers are moving toward out-patient help, due to the cost.


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