Substance abuse project makes gains

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It's possible that a six-bed regional facility for involuntary holds on the Kootenai Health campus could open next year.

Kootenai County commissioner Jai Nelson provided an update on the project on Friday during a joint meeting with the Post Falls City Council. The facility would serve those with intoxication, substance abuse and mental issues.

"We're making incremental steps forward," Nelson said.

She said the Department of Health and Welfare is seeking funds for the facility through beer and wine sales. The request is pending Legislature approval.

The facility's annual operating budget is estimated at $391,000. Agencies that have committed funding so far include: Kootenai County, $140,000; Bonner County, $35,000; Shoshone County, $8,000; Boundary County, $4,600; and city of Coeur d'Alene, $5,000 for a total of $192,600. Some cities have declined on pitching in because counties are mandated to provide the service under law.

She said grants are being sought on the estimated $475,000 building renovation cost.

The lack of a facility dedicated for such a service had been a drain on law enforcement and hospital resources. When Kootenai Medical Center is full, law enforcement has had to take patients to a facility in Lewiston. Officers may also have to wait for hours for hospital staff to become available to treat such patients.

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