By Karen Morfitt
DENVER (CBS4) – The largest provider of substance abuse treatment in Colorado is closing its doors.
After more than 40 years, Arapahoe house officials announced Friday that they would be shutting down.
“It’s really, really a sad day not just for Arapahoe House and our patients and staff, but really Colorado and our community,” CEO and President Mike Butler said.
Butler says the cost to treat more than 5,000 patients each year is far greater than the funding available both from state and federal sources- including Medicaid.
“We have had to use our reserves each of the last seven years to bridge the gap from what are inadequate reimbursement rates compared to the cost to deliver this very important service,” Butler said.
For years the treatment center has cut where they could, eliminating youth programs and services to those coming out of the criminal justice system.
Several of their detox centers shut down earlier this year as the organization attempted to operate more efficiently.
“We hear so much media attention around the opioid epidemic and the devastation it’s causing in our communities, but what is not happening is the funding to solve that problem,” Butler said.
Brandon Kozloff is a therapist at Arapahoe House’s Denver clinic. He’s among the 200 staff members who learned the treatment center would be closing.
A recovering addict himself Kozloff says he knows treatment can be difficult to access & the closure will only add to the growing problem.
“This will be devastating for some. Some people will figure it out. Some people might not,” he said.
Colorado Senator Cheri Jahn, a member of the Business, Labor and Technology Committee and an Arapahoe House board member said a recent announcement by the Trump Administration naming the opioid epidemic as a national crisis brought no additional dollars for treatment.
“Treatment hasn’t been adequately covered for years, and it’s only going to get worse,” said Jahn. “Substance use disorders are a serious, highly stigmatized health condition and individuals suffering from addiction need and deserve access to high-quality treatment.”
Karen Morfitt joined the CBS4 team as a reporter in 2013. She covers a variety of stories in and around the Denver metro area. Connect with her on Facebook, follow her on Twitter @karenmorfitt or email her tips.