Tipton briefed on opioid center

Rep. Scott Tipton

Plans for a center in Grand Junction that would treat people suffering from opioid abuse got a vote of support from U.S. Rep. Scott Tipton, R-Colo., who said he would seek backing for the project.

Tipton visited with officials from the Salvation Army in Grand Junction, who briefed him on plans for a new treatment center.

The proposal hasn’t yet been unveiled to the public — that will happen before the end of the year, officials said — and Tipton said he would weigh in with support for grants and other backing for the effort, which he described as “effectively a little village for recovery.”

The Salvation Army has offered addiction treatment to as many as 30 people at a time in two houses it owns downtown, said Steve Staneart, commanding officer of the Grand Junction corps.

Those houses, however, were 100 years old when the Salvation Army acquired them and “our infrastructure is crumbling,” Staneart said. “What we’re doing is not sustainable.”

At the same time, opioid abuse “is exploding” and Grand Junction sits in the center of a geographic area in which opioid addiction is overtaking the kinds of abuse traditionally associated with the Salvation Army, Staneart said.

“We’re seeing a lot more younger people,” Staneart said, noting that people in their late teens suffering from opioid abuse are replacing men in their 40s and 50s struggling with alcoholism.

“Our conversation with the congressman was very encouraging,” Staneart said.

Tipton has previously been updated on the lack of opioid-abuse treatment centers on the Western Slope, as well as across the 3rd Congressional District in meetings in Grand Junction and other cities.

Opioid addictions act in such a way that susceptible people find that the narcotics not only relieve pain, but provide pleasant sensations. Sufferers, however, need increasing amounts of opioids and that frequently leads them to illicit substances, such as cocaine and heroin.

Nonprofits such as the Salvation Army and other organizations can relax a bit as tax reform ideas will leave intact charitable deductions, as well as the mortgage deduction, though details remain to be worked out, Tipton said.


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