Miami-Dade County's only public detoxification unit, slated for closure July 1, got a 90-day reprieve last week thanks to a last-minute effort led by County Commissioner Barbara Carey.
The extension, approved unanimously by commissioners July 7, followed publication of a New Times story on the detox unit ("A Quick Fix," July 2). In a cost-cutting move, the commission approved the shutdown May 19. Then June 9 Carey urged County Manager Merrett Stierheim to delay the closing. Finally, after a barrage of public criticism, Carey and her staff last week persuaded commissioners to hold an emergency vote on the detox facility. Claudette Freeman, an aide in Carey's district office, estimates that fifteen callers exhorted the commissioner to keep the unit open.
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The detox center, located at 2500 NW 22nd Ave., is a haven for indigent alcoholics and drug addicts during withdrawal. Now, Carey says, the county is negotiating with Jackson Memorial Hospital to set aside space for such patients. This arrangement could cost far less, Carey says, and adds, "It might work out to be even better.