Denver, CO — After 42 years of service to the metro Denver community, Arapahoe House, the state’s largest provider of substance use disorder treatment, will cease its operations on January 2.
Arapahoe House has served as a safety-net provider of substance use disorder treatment for Coloradans needing care since 1975. Unfortunately, the cost to care for these patients is greater than the funding that is available from state and federal sources including Medicaid.
“This is devastating for our community and the state as a whole,” said Mike Butler, president and CEO of Arapahoe House. “We care for an extremely vulnerable population including pregnant women and women with children. Without Arapahoe House, there are precious few places for these individuals to go. Despite a widespread and growing opioid crisis in Colorado and nationwide, state and federal funding for addiction treatment remains inadequate.”
Butler said Arapahoe House already has eliminated programs serving youth and individuals coming out of the criminal justice system in order to preserve its residential and outpatient programs. However, recent and anticipated future reductions in funding make it impossible for even these programs to continue.
Colorado Senator Cheri Jahn, a member of the Business, Labor and Technology Committee and an Arapahoe House board member, said that a recent announcement by the Trump Administration naming the opioid epidemic as a national crisis brought no additional dollars for treatment.
“Treatment hasn’t been adequately covered for years, and it’s only going to get worse,” said Jahn. “Substance use disorders are a serious, highly stigmatized health condition and individuals suffering from addiction need and deserve access to high-quality treatment.”
In order to continue to help community members seeking treatment and provide information about substance use disorders, Butler said that Arapahoe House’s call center (303-657-3700) will remain open from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m., Monday through Saturday, through Jan. 2. “We will continue to do everything we can to try to connect people to any available services,” said Butler, “and have increased the call center’s capacity to do so.”
Only 11 to 16 percent of Coloradans receive the substance use disorder treatment they need and an accidental drug overdose occurs in Colorado every nine hours and 36 minutes.
“Studies show that every $1 invested in treatment saves $12 that would have been spent on services such as child welfare, health care and the criminal justice system,” said Jahn. “Treatment is good health care and a good investment; however, adequate state and federal funding for treatment simply is not provided.”
As of December 15, 2017 Arapahoe House will no longer accept any new patient admissions. Treatment for current patients will conclude by January 2. Arapahoe House is already working with the treatment community to ensure as smooth a transition as possible. Every effort will be made to place current patients with other providers.
Arapahoe House currently serves nearly 5,000 patients per year and has approximately 200 employees.