Updated: Sunday, 05 Dec 2010, 10:35 PM MST
Published : Sunday, 05 Dec 2010, 10:35 PM MST
ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) - It’s been about two months since she took over a scandal plagued detox center, but today employees at Bernalillo County’s Substance Abuse Program Department say morale has turned around 180 degrees.
"Providing services and detoxing folks is a public safety issue," said new Substance Abuse Program Director Katrina Hotrum, who started working for the county in late September after nearly 15 years with the state health department.
Hotrum said she saw programs that could be fixed instantly.
"The difference is they really weren't communicating with each other and every program had a different philosophy on how substance abuse and alcoholism should be treated. And even though they wanted to help each other they couldn't because they weren't on the same page," she said.
One of the biggest programs in DSAP is the Metropolitan Assessment and Treatment center, the county-run detox center.
It was the heart of a nepotism investigation over the summer involving former Public Safety County Manager John Dantis and his son Jamie who worked at the facility. An external investigation accused Jamie of being high at work, waiving a pellet gun around at work, and receiving special treatment from bosses.
Now, the new boss and employees say there’s a difference.
“I believe we're feeling a change we've made some decisions we're moving in a slightly different direction," Hotrum said.
Case managers started working inside the Metropolitan Detention Center this week, streamlining the process for offenders who are court ordered to participate in county DWI programs.
We have case managers now who will work with the client and work on discharge planning work on life skills with that population with the DWI folks,” she said.
As for the future, Hotrum says she wants to place a concentration on transitional living and mental health issues.
"Our services are valuable. And we're really working to get our recidivism rate down so we are successful in our fight against substance abuse," she said.