Ribbon cutting set for Sobering Center

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 – After months of preparation, the Sobering Center will have a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Monday to celebrate its completion.

San Juan County built the Sobering Center, which will be staffed by Presbyterian Medical Services as part of an inter-agency agreement to address substance abuse in the community. The agreement also involves the city of Farmington and the San Juan Regional Medical Center. The Sobering Center is located on the Totah Behavioral Health Authority's campus off N.M. Highway 371.

San Juan County Executive Officer Kim Carpenter said there are various issues the county faces with how to address the problem of substance abuse.

“Obviously, the methodology in some areas has not been working,” Carpenter said.

The Sobering Center represents the county’s new efforts to help combat substance abuse. While the Sobering Center will serve as a place to house intoxicated people until they are sober, it will be located next to a building that will house the Joint Intervention Program, a 140-day treatment program.

Carpenter said the Sobering Center and the Joint Intervention Program will allow the county and city to treat the problem, rather than just providing people with a warm place to stay until they are sober.

“We want to be able to provide them options for getting them on track to better their life,” he said.

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

Currently, detox services are provided by the Four Winds Recovery Center. In 2014, Four Winds officials announced they could no longer afford to operate the sole detox center in the area. Four Winds has agreed to operate the detox center until the Sobering Center has opened.

“There’s got to be a place for them to go,” said Jolene Schneider, the executive director of the Four Winds Recovery Center.

After the Sobering Center opens, Four Winds plans to use the space it has been operating as a detox service to expand its residential treatment services.

The Sobering Center is expected to open in the middle of March.

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

If you go

What: Ribbon-cutting ceremony for the Sobering Center

When: 2 p.m. Monday

Where: Next to the Totah Behavioral Health Authority at 1615 Ojo Court off N.M. Highway 371