By ELLY GRIMM
• Leader & Times
The Southwest Kansas Alcohol and Drug Foundation recently celebrated the ribbon cutting of its new location at 504 N. Kansas Avenue after being housed for many years at 529 N. New York.
The foundation was begun in the 1970s and had a lot of success. However, the agency is now in need of a lot of help.
“It’s not big enough here. Our future is to find a building or build a building where we can house the treatment and clients if they need in-patient care,” Janet Reimer, administrator for the agency, said. “Right now, we don’t have in-patient care and there’s not a facility within a 100-mile radius with in-patient care. Liberal really, really needs it and anyone who wants to support, we’ll be open.”
The agency currently offers early intervention services and also has alcohol and drug classes, anger management classes and a criminal diversion program. The agency has also implemented an out-patient program which will start Sept. 29.
“This whole area is very under-serviced and I think the strategic goal for this organization is going to be to expand not only the services we offer but also the facilities,” Dr. Brenda Ridgeway, the agency’s clinical director, said. “One of our goals is to see intensive out-patient care and I think it will come fairly soon. Once we get these pieces put into place and stabilized – and we have the clients to do it – it will happen.”
Ridgeway also emphasized how the community is as much a part of the center as the staff is.
“This agency’s going to grow depending on what the community wants because we’re looking at what the community needs,” Ridgeway said. “So we need them on board to facilitate and help out so we can get started.”
Reimer, a former probation officer, also talked about how many communities are misinformed about just how much of an issue drug and alcohol addiction can be.
“A lot of people say ‘oh, they’re just drunks and alcoholics’ and that’s not the way it is. I’ve seen alcoholism and drug use all my life and it is a disease – yes, maybe they started it by something they did but the communities are just misinformed and we have to educate the community and the community needs to step up to the plate,” Reimer said. “They’ve built schools for the community, they’re building other little things – this is just as important as a school because it’s educating the person who’s an alcoholic or the drug user. It’s educating their family members, it’s a safe place to come get help.”
Reimer also talked about the places the agency’s clientele comes from, including Guymon, Okla., Garden City, Meade and many other towns in the surrounding area. Clients can come in on their own and get help and even employers can bring employees in to get help. After they come in there will be as assessment of what type of help is needed for the client.
The agency also welcomes donations and volunteers and people interested in donating time or other resources need only contact Reimer at the agency’s offices at 624-3616.
“My favorite term is ‘everyone who comes through here has a sore and our job is to find the right salve.’ It may take several times but they will get it – if they truly want the help, we will help them,” she said. “But right now we’re growing and we’ve got to find a place to grow into.”