STOCKTON — Until recently, when police picked up someone off the streets incapable of caring for themselves because they were under the influence of alcohol or something else, they had few choices: take them to a hospital emergency room and wait, or haul them off to jail.

Now, there is another option, a sobering center operated by Community Medical Centers at its eastside clinic at 1031 Waterloo Road, Stockton.

CMC’s new Recovery Center was created through a partnership with San Joaquin County Behavioral Health Services. It offers medical and behavioral assessment, sobering and treatment to individuals struggling with mental health and substance use issues.

Plans are underway to add withdrawal and respite care services in 2019 as the program develops.

While speaking during Thursday’s Community Philanthropy Summit in Lodi, CMC Chief Executive Christine Noguera described the opening of the Recovery Center as a “proactive” step in addressing a serious need in the community that is unique among similar organizations.

“It is certainly something that most community health centers do not provide,” Noguera said.

In a prepared statement, she noted: “We are creating a model of care where addiction screening and treatment are offered side by side with primary care. This will improve access to much needed services and lower the stigma associated with seeking help for addiction.”

CMC is a Federally Qualified Health Center with 18 health clinics serving more than 85,000 patients in San Joaquin, Solano and Yolo counties, regardless of their ability to pay.

Its new sobering program is supported in part by funds from the California Mental Health Services Act and from the Proposition 47 Safe Neighborhoods and Schools Fund. During its design phase, CMC drew upon the work of other treatment and sobering centers across the country. However, the Federally Qualified Health Center-based model of care for these services is unique.

In addition to treatment and counseling, the center offers such basic needs as showers and a place for the client to clean up.

Since January, the Recovery Center has had 370 client encounters and currently is treating 50 active participants. They have been referred by county Behavioral Health or have been brought to the center by local law enforcement. They may have been found to be publicly intoxicated and suffering from mild to moderate mental health and medical problems.

Noguera touted some early success with clients who have overcome homelessness, addiction and mental health disorders using the tools made available that allow them to progress toward better lives.

Information: Community Medical Centers Recovery Center at (209) 940-5662.

 

Contact reporter Joe Goldeen at (209) 546-8278 or jgoldeen@recordnet.com. Follow him at recordnet.com/goldeenblog and on Twitter @JoeGoldeen.