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Published: Wednesday, 4/30/2003

Compass, SASI merge addiction services

BY LUKE SHOCKMAN
BLADE STAFF WRITER

Two local drug-treatment agencies, Substance Abuse Services, Inc., and Compass, have merged after several months of discussions.

The merger, to be announced today, was prompted by financial difficulties at SASI caused by fiscal mismanagement and declining state funding for mental health services, SASI officials said.

SASI, 1832 Adams St., was formed by Jack Ford in 1980, long before he became Toledo's mayor. He left the agency in 1994. SASI has 30 employees and an annual budget of $1.7 million. The agency's programs include methadone treatment, a gambling addiction program, and outpatient alcohol and drug treatment.

The merger won't result in any layoffs, according to Bill Sanford, chief executive officer of Compass, which has its main office at 2465 Collingwood Blvd.

Compass employs 68 people and has an annual budget of about $2.5 million. Its programs include alcohol detoxification, residential treatment of alcoholics, and a driver intervention program for drunken drivers.

Mr. Sanford said SASI and Compass clients shouldn't notice any disruption in services, and that all current programs will remain. Compass served 3,800 people last year, while SASI served 1,200.

Mr. Sanford said he hopes the merger will free up more money for SASI and allow it to serve up to 1,500.

Instead of filling several administrative positions, Compass officials will take on those duties, Mr. Sanford said. SASI still has a line of credit worth about $100,000, but that debt should be paid off by June, 2004, Mr. Sanford said.

The boards for SASI and Compass approved the merger unanimously.

Jim Ruvulo, SASI board chairman, said the merger is the “best way to continue to serve the clients SASI has. It will mean economic stability and less dollars for overhead.”

Carroll Parks, former SASI president who left the organization in March for a job in Washington, opposed the merger. He said the merger reduced consumer choice, and he didn't like putting so much of the county's substance abuse treatment programs in one basket.

SASI and Compass together provide about 90 percent of substance abuse treatment in Lucas County.



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