No Drunks Or Walk-Ins At Detox Center

While working on a story about Boise’s relationship with Alcoholics Anonymous, we learned Boise’s Detox Center is not what it was cracked up to be.

The facility may be well intended, save money for the hospitals, and provide services to some of those in need. It doesn’t fill the role it was touted as filling. Most recent numbers indicate about 75-80 admission per month.

A little history–
About seven years ago politicos in Boise, Meridian, Ada County, and the state of Idaho joined to support a “Detox Center” to take care of emergency cases that needed to be taken off the street, but had otherwise not committed a crime–the typical town drunk and overdosed drug user.

A place called Allumbaugh House, owned by the Boise/Ada Housing authority emerged. Doors opened in 2010 and we finally had a place other than jail for alcoholics and drug addicts.

Here is a recent breakdown of funding:
State of Idaho – $787,404
Ada County- $250,000
Boise- $241,056
Meridian- $52,236
St.Lukes $150,660
St. Al ‘s $200,888
United Way $117,756

For nearly $2,000,000 a year we got what just might be a “pressure relief valve” for the existing hospitals. The perceived drop off place for law enforcement seems to have disappeared and the Ada County Jail drunk tank is busy as ever.

Here are the rules for admission and denial at Allumbaugh House:
Eligible Participants:
● 18 years of age and older.
● Reside within Region IV, with priority to those referred by a funding partner agent or a resident within a funding partner area.
● Diagnosed with a substance abuse/addictions disorder.
● Likely to have withdrawal upon cessation of use.
● Meets ASAM placement criteria not to exceed Level III.7
● BAC value no greater than .20
● Priority to low-income and/or indigent clients.
●Capacity to benefit from short-term stabilization.
● Voluntary admission and participation.

Exclusionary Guidelines:
● Does not meet ASAM placement criteria for Level III.7
● Unwilling to enter treatment voluntarily.
● BAC exceeds .20
● Subject of involuntary commitment proceedings/detention.
● Actively harmful to self/others.
● Acute medical conditions requiring a higher level of care.
● Walk-in emergencies

In short, if someone is: really drunk (.2 or higher), doesn’t have an appointment, is not diagnosed with an abuse problem, or won’t volunteer for treatment they are either left on the street or taken to jail.

Comments & Discussion

Comments are closed for this post.

  1. I am confused, if this is true “but had otherwise not committed a crime” who decides they need to go anywhere? And if they have committed no crime and they are not under arrest they are free to walk out of the good sheriff’s self titled “bed and breakfast” anytime they want, correct? Why if these individuals have committed no crime are BPD and the sheriffs keystone cops hauling them to the hoosgow? Too use your figures ADA county pays 1/8th of the 2mil, but the county pays 100% of the cost of locking up individuals who by what you have said here, have committed no crime. Is the good sheriff trying to pad his census in an attempt to justify even more money from the county?

    EDITOR NOTE–The coppers, courts, and most people don’t want drunks to go to jail. However, if someone is playing in traffic, passed out in a snowbank, etc. they are in danger of being killed or causing harm to others. The INTENT of the detox was to be an ALTERNATIVE to jail. It apparently hasn’t happened.

  2. So, if a person is above .20 and is a danger to themselves but committed no crime, are they taken to a hospital and then, once below .20, taken to Allumbaugh??? Frankly, with people who are in this situation in life, I would be surprised if most drunks who are found and thought to be a danger to themselves are NOT above .20. Thus, unless they are taken to a hospital to sober up a bit, then I don’t get what this place is really for????

    EDITOR NOTE–We agree with your thoughts. It appears these “drunks, but not criminals” are taken to the jail. We hear Boise pays $75 a day for jail space on some of these “non-judicial” cases.

  3. I understand meeting some criteria but for those whom seek help then this is crippling. It seemed the initial point was to assist.

    Everyone with a problem doesn’t need to go to jail and once in jail then there is a bail bond associated plus $75 per day. Jail is not a means to help here. It doesn’t make sense but another money market?

    A few years ago there was the same on helping those with Meth and families were to seek help by reporting this. How many turned their kids or families in and then charged with Felonies to seek help as well. Is this the same facility perhaps? Is this entrapment? Something is really wrong with this picture.

  4. I found the above facts for BG. This is just a hypothesis for a problem as stated by the Sheriff. Hopefully someone in the know will confirm it.

    EDITOR NOTE–A public “thanks” for Clancy’s research assistance. We have talked to other law enforcement administrators and all seem in agreement about the continuing need for a “detox facility” and the near impossibility of using Allumbaugh house. Look for the Ada Commishes and Boise officials to visit the issue immediately as well.

  5. Debra
    “If” these people are not under arrest there is no need for them to post bail, actually there is no logical reason for them to be locked up in jail for what I imagine will be a 72 hour hold. The good sheriff can say all he wants that it is done for the individuals own good but, I for one don’t buy it. I am more concerned about two things, 1st I agree, and believe anyone with any common sense would, jail is the wrong place to put these people, the antagonistic attitude of a type a personality cop and the mental state of an individual in this circumstance, this juxtaposition often is recipe for trouble. 2nd and this is just supposition on my part, if Boise quit paying for the housing of individuals in the good sheriff’s “bed and breakfast” it wouldn’t be long before the good sheriff stops putting people in his so called “drunk tanks”.

  6. Tom – The people the police pick up are exactly like the editor describes – stumbling in traffic, sleeping in the cold, unable to function well enough to find a safe place to stay, etc. They are usually much higher than a .20. The police only intervene to keep them from danger.

    If they commit a crime they will be charged as such, and it is a different situation from this one.

    Question for the editor: If someone is put in jail for a few hours on a ‘detox hold’ are they billed? I don’t think they are, but I don’t know for sure. I know they don’t have to post a bond – because a bond is to help make sure they will return for their upcoming court date in the event they were charged with a crime.

    EDITOR NOTE–As we understand it from copper administration, the city gets billed…homeless drunks seldom can pay a bill.

  7. My Two Cents
    Apr 9, 2013, 12:11 pm

    Why is everyone acting like this is so shocking an event that a drunk would be taken off the street? Heck even in Mayberry Andy and Barney used to make sure Otis slept it off in the jail rather than leave him on the street, where he might be a harm to himself or others.

  8. The point is this there are better ways of dealing with this than putting people in the jail to sober up. It’s a way for the good sheriff to pad his census therefore put extra $$ in his coffers. As with most things follow the money and you will see why it happens. If any of you think BPD or the good sheriffs keystone cops are doing this out of empathy for people on the street you are sadly mistaken. A question I have would be this… if this is why is the city and county funding the Detox center if they are not using it? That’s where the conversation needs to go not where the good sheriff pointed it, IE. “He told the GUARDIAN the so-called “Detox Center” at Allumbaugh House has not worked out, is difficult for coppers to use and the County Jail has reverted to “drunk tank, holding cell” status for people needing to be removed from public areas, but not under arrest.” This is just an example of his narcissistic self-promotion, ops I was told not to call him names.

  9. Hey BG..a couple of things..

    The ASAM is the American Society of Addiction Medicine. Level III is the criteria for basic, non-clinical inpatient care, which is what the A.H. is providing.

    Exceeding Level III is Level IV, the highest level on the scale and is reserved for medically unstable patients who require an actual clinical setting during their withdrawal process.

    Level I is outpatient care and Level II is “Intensive outpatient care”, neither of wich is what the A.H. is set up to provide, though it may refer parties to services appropriate for those cases and situations.

    I would also be willing to guess that people who are over 0.2 need a detailed clinical workup and screening as well prior to admissio. The type of screening that is best done in a clinical setting prior to addmission to AH.

    I’m not a part of the A.H. services, but it is not uncommon for addiction care to require a referal . In otherwords, after you have been seen by a therapist, a physician, or other social services. This prevents both overload and allows for proper screening and better utilization of rescources.

    Just my thoughts….

    EDITOR NOTE–Nemo, would you suggest calling 911 for an EMS transport to the emergency room for the work up? As it was sold–and even Allumbaugh House reports–the idea is to save E.R. visits and costs. If the criteria for admission, or denial, are based on sound medical/financial reasoning, Allumbaugh cannot serve the purpose for which it was intended…which was to be an alternative to jail and E.R. visits.

  10. Tom, you must have an ax to grind. While I agree with some of your premise, there is no reason to demean the Law enforcement officers.

  11. Per my conversation today with Allumbaugh which is Terry Reily Health Services, there is a Pre-screening which takes place. No one can simply be dropped off. For those whom don’t have insurance then they work on a sliding scale of income. For those whom don’t have an income then they are referred to Garden City however there is a probable two week waiting period to be seen. Then you have to prove your income for the past year in the event you had income. A report can be retrieved by the State of Idaho however for those down and out – how does one even have a clue? Sure go get your statement and we might help you.

    I’d sure like to see the records or reports on whom they helped through this process as well as ‘not charged’ for something buy BPO to validate whom what situations they are providing to this center.
    Tom see’s it.

  12. Our wonderful St.Lukes, non-profit community hospital refuses to provide a psyche hospital because of the meager profit involved. Time to take away the non-profit status. St. Als does provide some service. Also a tax on alcohol enhanced malt beverages would go a long way to help funding. I worked in a Boise City park and malt beverages were the booze of choice for the problem drinkers. Booze is cheap. Poor people can afford booze but not hospitals. Hospitals want money and drunks to go somewhere else.

  13. Debra

    I guess I have been cut off from commenting on here, at least as far as critiquing the good sheriff goes. I will refrain from further comment of him at least until… ooppss don’t go there…. I have a question that should be innocuous enough. Just exactly what benefit do the city’s/ county that subsidize Terry Riley get out of this deal? While this may not be a drop off spot for those who the editor has so callously labeled as homeless drunks, I still say subjecting them to being locked up for days at a time in the jail is a very bad idea. Remember this if a person is held for being a danger to themselves it is not just a matter of keeping them till they calm down/ sober up as we are being led to believe it is a 72 hour hold.

  14. Nonprofit hospitals continue to build five star hotels, with granite and quartz and stainless steel and the other exotic trims and accoutrements one might find common in a Four Seasons or a Vega$ strip casino, while their public health mission seems like a bother. Honestly, I’ve gotten to the point where I would rather spend a weekend in the hospital running a card room instead of slumming at the Wynn or Encore.

  15. I love the idea of taxing booze for alcohol treatment. We ought to quit messing around and just tax it to the point where buying a drink automatically includes a taxi ride to the nearest treatment center. Like a conveyor belt!

  16. Tom,

    I happen to be a local police officer (or keystone cop, but I don’t work for the sheriff). We do pick people up off the streets out of empathy. Sadly I have helped pick up more than one who stumbled into traffic where he shouldn’t have.

    I would love to bring those I pick up to a detox center, but for reasons I already described we can’t. Right now we don’t always have an option but the ‘drunk tank.’ The Allumbaugh House simply won’t except the non cooperative drunk. I can’t leave him stumbling along the side of the road, and he will walk away from a hospital. Where should we put him?

    And to clarify – I am not speaking of the people who had a few and decided to walk instead of drive. I am talking about the ones literally stumbling along, which we see all too much.

    I think Nemo makes very good points. It just goes back to the willingness of the patient.

  17. People say I make unwarented comments. At least mine are based in fact.

  18. Then you may be able to speak to the supposition that these people are taken to the jail (not under arrest) and kept til they sober up and let go. And what happens if the individual does not want to go to jail? It has been stated here that they have committed no crime so locking them up isn’t really an option, unless you use the mental health stipulations IE a danger to themselves or others, then they are held for 72 hours (not including weekends). You say the AH will not accept an uncooperative “drunk”, what happens to that same uncooperative “drunk” when he hits the jail? I wonder why it is that cops can disparage alcoholics by calling them “drunks” yet the good sheriff can’t be burdened with a label even if it is correct.

    EDITOR NOTE–Tom, you gotta stop baiting people, including me! We all want some sort of place to protect the safety of troubled souls and Allumbaugh isn’t doing the job! Coppers and sheriff don’t want (political incorrectness intended) drunks, dopers, crazies, in their jail and the E.R. doesn’t want them either. That was the entire reason for Allumbaugh. It ain’t working and you are fighting with the people who are in agreement with you.

  19. FactvFiction
    Apr 13, 2013, 12:18 am

    Tom – where are you getting this 72hr number? Taking someone in for a detox hold is NOT the same as taking them on an Emergency Mental Hold. A detox hold (authorized by Idaho Code 39-307A(b))only lasts as long as it takes for the person to sober up and be able to operate in society without endagering themself or others. If there’s a Deputy reading, feel free to correct me, but last I checked, when the person drops below a .10 BAC they are sent on their merry way. Usually these detox holds involve people who are well into the .30 range and sometimes the .40 range. They’re not buzzed, they’re ripped and usually unable to walk, talk, or control bodily functions! (sorry for the mental image, but that’s what we deal with) At normal dissipation rates, we’re talking a stay of no more than 15hrs for a .40 (the average person would be in a coma at that level). By code, the detention can’t be more than 24hrs.

    Also, there is NO bond as they are not under arrest. And there is no criminal report or charges if it is solely a detox hold.

    As LJ indicated, taking someone to an actual detox facility would definitely be preferred by law enforcement. Unfortunately, even when AH was accepting drop offs, it was on Friday and Saturday nights — that is not primetime for the people who would need those services. The people getting trashed on the weekend need to be taken home by a buddy. The candidates for detox are people like Kelly Summers who was killed just recently when he stumbled in front of a car on State Street.

  20. So… what does AH do for $2 mil a year ? A place to hang out for the not so severe alcoholic ?

  21. I will call the sheriffs office tomorrow and see if I can get their stats…If you read my post I said exactly what you said about mental holds which is the only way they can legally put these people in a cell..Here is what I posted.. “And what happens if the individual does not want to go to jail? It has been stated here that they have committed no crime so locking them up isn’t really an option, unless you use the mental health stipulations IE a danger to themselves or others, then they are held for 72 hours (not including weekends).” We are not in disagreement on this point, what I dont get is raney pretending to be the good samaritan, which he is not.. that will get me spanked by Dave… but so be it

  22. ps… I never said there was a bond

  23. I can read the code… thank you.. I guess we have a misunderstanding of the term detox. Holeing a person until they sober up is not detoxing them… according to the medico’s I have talked to…. who have much more experience in this than you and I combined it is impossible to “detox” a person in 24 hours, expecially if they are as drunk as has been being portrayed in this format. According to the jail individuals are kept until the “deputy feels like they are safe to let go” I asked if that meant hours or days… I was told that meant until the deputy felt like they were safe… there was no specific time, it was up to the deputy on shift. Kinda fly’s in the face of your code doesnt it?

  24. FactvFiction
    May 21, 2013, 12:43 am

    No, you providing an alleged anecdotal response from the “jail individuals”, does not fly in the face of the posted code. I challenge you to show an instance where the Ada County Sheriff’s Office has held someone longer than the time allowed by statute.

  25. From the initial history the Editor provided then it still seems much like fraud and bogus claims to obtain this funding which is coming out of each of everyones pockets. Stop the funding and see what happens. The Sheriff’s office has to have a budget to provide this service as well and certain they are getting these amounts nor take insurance agreements.

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