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Westcare facility, Harris Springs Ranch, facing funding issues

LAS VEGAS - Concern over Westcare scaling back its drug treatment facility operations continues to spread. 

Westcare's last community triage center could close after funding agreements with the state and Clark County dissolved over the past two years.

Currently, another Westcare facility is facing a complicated fight for funding.

For nearly four decades, the picturesque Harris Springs Ranch near Kyle Canyon has served as a lifeline for thousands of people battling addiction like David Lagle.

"I just lost it," Lagle said. "I had no; there was no counseling, no nothing, and I didn't know how to deal with it except to like numb myself."

Lagle's life spiraled out of control after his daughter Chelsea was murdered by her boyfriend in Las Vegas in March 2016.
    
The grieving father and husband of 26 years found himself homeless and hopeless.  Well, at least until he found his way to the ranch.

"I would have been another statistic.  I'm homeless and mentally ill," Lagle said.

"If it wasn't for the drugs, I believe none of that would have been a part of my story," said Salvador Perez, a client at Harris Springs Ranch. 

Perez said marijuana, meth, and booze took him down a bad path, and it all started when he was 16.

"It led into a life of gang-banging, that you know, put my life in danger almost every day," Perez said.

Perez and Lagle's stories are just two of the thousands that could be told over the years by clients at the Harris Springs Ranch.

READ: Letters received from clients of Harris Springs Ranch

The majority of the people that come here come from jail or the streets, and they don't usually have a way to pay.

Westcare provides services at the ranch from federal grant money distributed by the state's substance abuse prevention and treatment agency.
    
Harris Springs Director Leo Magridichian says this year, the ranch got 33 percent less funding than last year, which it has now used up.

"So as the client that is under a SAPTA grant leaves Westcare or leaves Harris Springs Ranch, we're not allowed to fill that bed," Magrdichian said.

Only a quarter of the ranch's 56 beds are now occupied despite demand for drug and alcohol addiction treatment being as high as ever.

The facility isn't closing, but it is in limbo as it waits for the budget year to come to a close.

As for the 14 remaining clients, Lagle says he hopes to transition back into the construction industry after he leaves next month.

"I'm actually trying to get into vocational school for heating and air conditioning, because you know, we live in Vegas, and when it's hot, it's hot, and when it's cold, it's cold," Perez said. 


 


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