Thursday, October 14, 2004

Gov funds drug
rehab facility

A planned 16-bed center
will serve youths on Kauai

LIHUE » Gov. Linda Lingle released $500,000 yesterday to help Kauai County set up its first residential drug treatment center for youths.

The proposed 16-bed facility will be on the 1.2-acre former Kauai Humane Society animal shelter near Port Allen on the island's west side. The state owns the site.

The state money came from bond revenues. The county also is putting up $500,000, all from donations and by providing county-owned modular buildings as in-kind matching funds.

Mayor Bryan Baptiste said the facility will be operated by a yet-to-be-selected private nonprofit agency under contract to the county. The facility will be licensed by the state Health Department, he added.

Construction is planned to begin in February. It is not clear when the facility will be opened.

The mayor's staff noted, however, that 16 beds will meet only about 10 percent of the island's needs for drug rehabilitation among juveniles.

The facility will serve youngsters up to age 18 with drug abuse problems. They will either be committed by family court or voluntarily placed in the facility by their parents.

Lt. Gov. James "Duke" Aiona Jr., who delivered the check to Baptiste, said there are only two existing facilities in the state, one each on Oahu and Maui. The Big Island, like Kauai, is building a treatment center.

The facilities are designed to be self-supporting. Private patients' bills are paid for either by their parents' insurance or through a "scholarship" fund. Court-ordered patients' bills are paid by the Judiciary, he said.

Aiona noted that the involvement of insurance companies means the facilities have to meet the insurance standards as well as state standards.

Baptiste said the timing of the program is good because plans are under way to add a drug court to the existing state court system on Kauai, and possibly a juvenile drug court as well.



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