Four Winds Recovery Center plans for the future

Noel Lyn Smith
Jolene Schneider, executive director of the Four Winds Recovery Center, talks on Monday about upcoming upgrades and repairs that will take place at the center in Farmington.

FARMINGTON — As Four Winds Recovery Center prepares to end its detox services, the nonprofit's director says she wants the community to know that the agency will continue to provide residential and outpatient substance abuse treatment.

And the organization is already planning for the future.

Last month, the center received $7,200 from the Community Investment Fund operated by BHP Billiton New Mexico Coal and Navajo Transitional Energy Company.

Jolene Schneider, the center’s executive director, said on Monday that the grant will be used to help expand the center's 90-day residential treatment program. The center has been “fortunate” to receive the grant three times in the last five years, she said.

Until San Juan County opens a sobering house to serve the area, Four Winds will continue to offer protective custody detox services. The agency has announced it does not have the funds to continue offering protective custody detox long-term.

“We’re just waiting for the sobering house to be ready to open,” Schneider said.

After detox services are transferred to the sobering house, Four Winds will develop dormitories for both men and women in the parts of its facility that now house women and overflow from the men’s detox. Schneider said the grant will be used to purchase new furniture, such as bed frames, dressers and bedside tables, for the dorms.

There are also plans to develop sitting areas in each dorm.

Once work is completed, the 90-day residential treatment program could accommodate up to 10 men and six women.

"We’re very anxious to get started on our new stuff, but, of course, we can’t do that until (the county is) ready, and it’s the right thing to do — to keep our doors open so that people have a place to come until there’s an alternative," Schneider said.

The men's overflow room is used when the 20 beds in the protective custody unit, which is in a modular building behind Four Winds' main building, are occupied by male clients.

There are seven beds for women in protective custody in a different section of the main building.

In addition to purchasing furniture, the grant will pay for minor renovations. Four Winds is contributing $2,800 to the project, Schneider said.

Four Winds Recovery Center is pictured on Monday in Farmington.

The recovery center started the 90-day residential treatment program in February. It is funded through contracts with the U.S. Probation and Parole Office and the Jicarilla Apache Nation.

Since opening, an average of about seven clients are enrolled in the program at any given time.

The sobering house will be located in a modular building next to Totah Behavioral Health Authority off N.M. Highway 371.

During the San Juan County Commission meeting last week, County Operations Officer Mike Stark told commissioners the sobering house could open as early as next month.

Also at the meeting, commissioners approved a draft intergovernmental agreement for the sobering house and the Joint Intervention Program, a rehabilitation program. The agreement is between the county, the city of Farmington, San Juan Regional Medical Center and Presbyterian Medical Services.

After the sobering house is operating, Schneider said Four Winds' other plan is to sell the modular building that housed the main men’s detox.

“My first desire is to sell that building so that we can increase the recreation area for our treatment clients,” she said.

Schneider added that a new volleyball court was completed in August as part of an Eagle Scout project.

Noel Lyn Smith covers the Navajo Nation for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-546-4636.

Joe Earley, clinical supervisor at Four Winds Recovery Center, talks during a tour on Monday at the center in Farmington.