‘The Bridge’ shifts priorities to long-term treatment

The Bridge said it’s making their voluntary detox program a priority to continue to serve those who need their help, and get them into treatment.
Published: Sep. 29, 2022 at 11:09 PM CDT
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LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) - For nearly four decades, Nebraska law enforcement has brought those who are a danger to themselves or others to The Bridge, a behavioral health center in Lincoln. On Friday, that will all come to an end.

Faced with a staffing shortage, The Bridge told 10/11 by eliminating its civil protective custody program, it will actually allow staff to better serve those suffering from drug addiction by turning their attention to long-term treatment by expanding the voluntary detox program.

Under the existing program, officers with Lincoln Police and deputies with the Lancaster County Sheriff’s Office could bring someone in who was on drugs, and who could possibly hurt themselves or someone else, to be supervised for up to 24 hours.

“Simply putting them in, you know, behind a locked door in a jail cell was never really addressing the real issues that they had at hand,” said Executive Director Tammy Stevenson.

On average, Stevenson said someone brought in usually only stayed about 8 hours.

“Really, the process of detoxification is a process that lasts three to five days,” Stevenson said. “And so the difference with our voluntary program is that individuals can come into our program plan to stay three to five days.”

With the voluntary detox program, Stevenson said only about four percent of people who come in then go on to enter that program. By only offering that type of treatment instead of forcing someone into it, she hopes it will encourage more people to seek help and true recovery.

“So many individuals come to us in our crisis, you know, they may, or they may have lost their job, they may be struggling in their personal relationships,” Stevenson said. “So being able to me with our social worker, or our therapist, can also really help them talk about next steps, and what can they do tomorrow?”