Sobering center slated to open March 1

Hannah Grover
HT Tabaaha LLC masonry worker Malcolm Smith works on a wall in January on a section of the Joint Intervention Program building next to the new Sobering Center southwest of Farmington.

FARMINGTON – An inter-agency effort to create a sobering center for the area is nearly complete.

Mike Stark, the San Juan County operations officer, said the sobering center, previously called the sobering house, is scheduled to open March 1. The center will be located next to the Totah Behavioral Health Authority off N.M. Highway 371 southwest of Farmington.

"We're coming down the home stretch," Stark said.

He said there will be a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the sobering center on Feb. 29.

The sobering center is being built to replace the services previously offered by the Four Winds Recovery Center. The Four Winds Recovery Center is planning on closing its detox center and starting a residential and outpatient substance abuse treatment. The detox center has served as the sole provider of that service in the county. Four Winds Recovery Center officials have said they will keep the detox center open until the sobering center opens in March to prevent a gap in service.

Faced with the loss of detox services, the county teamed up with the San Juan Regional Medical Center, the city of Farmington and Presbyterian Medical Services to create the sobering center, which will be at the same location as the Joint Intervention Program. The Joint Intervention Program is a 140-day treatment program.

Construction continues in January on the new Joint Intervention Program building and Sobering Center southwest of Farmington.

The building for the sobering center is complete, and construction is still being done on the building that will house the Joint Intervention Program.

As part of the agreement, the county paid to construct the sobering center, which will be staffed by Presbyterian Medical Services. The sobering center will be able to care for 40 people at a time.

Stark said the sobering house will "provide a new model for assisting with the public inebriation."

He explained that by positioning the sobering center next to the Joint Intervention Program, it will give people the opportunity to "sleep off the night's activities" and then get treatment.

Hannah Grover covers Aztec and Bloomfield, as well as general news, for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4652.