FARMINGTON, NM -- It is more than two years in the making. A "sobering house" in Farmington that will be a first step to long-term treatment had its ribbon-cutting ceremony Monday.

“We see meth, heroin, but alcohol is our predominant substance still,” Said Kristine Carlson, Director for Totah Behavioral Health.

Two years ago, Four Winds Treatment Center in Farmingtonannounced intentions to discontinue the detox portion of their programs. Providers and governments recognized the huge void that would remain and worked in that time to find and build facilities to meet the current need.

The first need is a sobering house, a place for people to go and sober up.  The new building will hold up to 40 people at a time; each person will be allowed to stay for 11 hours maximum.

“Around hour 10, our staff will start discharge planning - where do you have to go, what do we need to help with, have you thought about counseling,” said Carlson.

The sobering house is part of a larger plan funded through a collaboration by the San Juan Regional Medical Center, the City of Farmington and San Juan County.

“To be able to provide treatment and break that cycles of substance abuse is critical for our area,” said San Juan County Chief Operating Officer Mike Stark.

The treatment portion is called the Joint Intervention Program -- soon to be housed right across from the sobering center.

“It is go get back into the path you were in before the drinking started,” said Carlson.

JIP is a yearlong treatment program. For the first six months, participants will live in the new facility. The building will hold 45 people at a time. The second six months is a voluntary after-care program.

The combination of sobering house and joint intervention program will cost a total of $1.6 million a year to run.  Treatment is free for people who live in San Juan County.

“It is hugely important. I think that when you look at treatment, you need a full continuum of care, and this is giving us a huge part of the continuum of care,” said.