WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – The Substance Abuse Center of Kansas, or SACK, is working to keep non-threatening addicts out of jail and get them sober or into treatment.

Social detox is located inside the Mental Health Crisis Center.

“We have 15 beds in detox and another 10 in the sober unit,” Harold Casey, the executive director of SACK, said.

SACK can’t offer medication. What they can provide is a safe space. The average stay is five to six days for social detox and one day for the sobering unit. This is a passion project with a personal connection for Casey.

“I went to a state-funded treatment center in 1980-81 over a period of a year at Sedgwick County mental health,” Casey said.

The service, offered through SACK, is free to the client and has an annual operation cost of about 700 thousand dollars. Casey says the money comes back 10-fold.

“The savings is around $12 million for the community, and that community includes the city and county of Wichita and the state where these folks are not going to the state and local hospital, and they are not in EMS or police cars,” Casey said.

Many repeat offenders come in at the hands of WPD’s Homeless Outreach Team (HOT).

“When an officer takes a street person to the hospital, that officer cannot leave the person until they have been admitted,” Casey said.

“At some point, we have to break that cycle, or it’s going to continue on every day. I have been there about four to five hours, so half your shift if you have to take someone to the hospital,” said officer Nate Schwiethile, WPD HOT team.

The program is also helping people already on a recovery path.

“I have about 120 employees that are in recovery themselves, and I think if you look at it that way, what an investment?” Casey said.

He says the money comes back through taxes and when participants become productive members of society.

“That’s my message to people is this is a good investment, and when you get people into recovery, they return that to the community,” Casey added.

A return where the receipt is recovered.

Social detox can be done in steps depending on the client.

After the detox period, clients are provided an assessment and can get placed in one of several treatment facilities sack partners with. The social detox center provides resources, from 12-step meetings to sober living houses.

To see more Recovery Week stories by KSN’s Eddie Randle, click here.