OKLAHOMA CITY – “I would have no food, and I’d be thrown back on the streets at 2 or 3 o’clock in the morning and my family was just tired of me; I just think there’s a better way to do this, we can give addicts resources, and housing and an actual detox,” said Shannon Garrison.
Garrison said she is now almost three years sober after battling addiction and mental health problems. She said she was in and out of the Oklahoma County Jail for over two years.
“It’s just a living hell on earth; you don’t know where you’re gonna sleep, you don’t know what you’re gonna eat, you have no safe place to go and, a lot of times, you end up with more trauma just because of that,” she said.
Garrison stood among a room full of supporters, fighting against a mental health crisis.
The group is pushing for a new restoration center that would be a full service mental health and addiction treatment center.
“Detoxifying from meth, opioids, mental health crisis beds, a medical unit, the police can bring people there, you can walk in off the street,” said Oklahoma County Commissioner Carrie Blumert.
The group is also hoping for two stand alone crisis centers and 30 units of transitional housing.
“Our hope is that this center will alleviate a lot of the pressure off of our jail, from providing that treatment and really getting people appropriate treatment when they need it,” Blumert said.
Their ask is for $42 million funded by MAPS 4.
Blumert said one in five people in our community have some type mental illness. She said 400 out of the 1,600 currently in our county jail are receiving some type of medication or mental health treatment.
“Mental illness does not have a class line, a race line, an income line and it can effect anyone,” she said.
Garrison is hoping the centers would give more people another chance like she had.
“I get to go back and work with other addicts and recovery, I actually get to go back in the program that I graduated from that I didn’t do so good in for a long time and I get to help others,” she said.
For more information and statistics about MAPS 4, you can visit the city’s website here.