The number of people waiting to enter the District's drug treatment facilities has reached 1,304, amid growing concern that the need for detoxification and rehabilitation has far outstripped the city's ability to provide the services.

Drug abusers are waiting as long as six weeks for an appointment, despite a 60 percent increase in the D.C. drug treatment agency's budget during the past four years and despite repeated promises by city officials to reduce the waiting list.

"The demand is so high that there's no way that we can have a program large enough, with enough capacity to simply take people immediately," John A. Jackson Jr., administrator of the city's Alcohol and Drug Abuse Services Administration, said in an interview last week.

ADASA, which runs or contracts for more than two dozen inpatient and outpatient programs in the city, has long struggled to meet the large demand of city residents who do not have health insurance or cannot afford the stiff prices of private drug treatment.

However, the shortage of public and private resources has worsened in recent months, while the recent spate of drug-related violence and evidence of increasing abuse of cocaine and other drugs have prompted renewed scrutiny of ADASA's programs by the the D.C. Council.

"We keep raising budgets and spending money, but there's not enough space for all the people," council member Frank Smith Jr. (D-Ward 1) said at a hearing last week of the council's Human Services Committee.

On Feb. 10, council Chairman David A. Clarke and Human Services Committee Chairman H.R. Crawford (D-Ward 7) sent a letter to the D.C. Department of Human Services, which oversees ADASA, requesting more information about the drug agency.

Clarke said the letter was prompted by concerns about Mayor Marion Barry's proposed $27.1 million budget for ADASA, which will remain essentially flat for the coming year while projecting no increase in the amount of people to be served by the agency. At the same time, he noted, the budget proposes to transfer funds out of the drug treatment and prevention bureaus into the administrator's office.

"At a time when drug abuse appears to be continually growing . . . the program planning appears to be doing the opposite -- coming to a slow standstill," the two council members wrote.

"It is not enough," Clarke said in an interview, referring to the city's drug treatment programs. "Obviously with respect to the problem being what it is, there certainly could be more services . . . . We all want more done." But he emphasized that until he gets more information, he is unsure whether more can be done with existing resources or whether more money is needed.

Jackson, a former head of the Air Force's drug abuse program who has been in charge at ADASA for 10 months, said the agency is examining "various solutions" to the waiting list problem, but he declined to elaborate.

However, he did say that the agency is planning to open three new outpatient clinics in the coming year -- previously budgeted programs that he said have faced delays because of difficulty finding locations for them. Traditionally, the city has faced fierce community opposition whenever it has sought to open drug treatment clinics or group homes for mental health patients.

Another human services department official expressed skepticism that the clinics would open within the year, noting that much renovation and other work is needed before the facilities are ready for patients.

The three clinics will be located at Burroughs and Division avenues NE in Ward 7, at the 2100 block of 24th Place NE in Ward 5, and at an as-yet undetermined location in Ward 8 for which the agency is seeking a contractor, according to Jackson. Margaret Quick, head of contract procurement for the human services agency, said the contract for the Ward 8 location is expected to be awarded within 60 days.

ADASA is not alone in its inability to meet the demand for drug treatment. Jackson said other municipalities face similar shortages, while several private drug treatment facilities here also reported waiting lists.

Ruth Cavanagh of Second Genesis, which contracts to provide 75 beds to ADASA, said her group does not keep more than 35 to 40 names on its waiting list because people "just won't come" after two months. She said the group, which provides an intensive year-long residency program for drug abusers, turned away 135 people in December and 127 in January.

"It's very sad for the people who get to the point where they want help, but there's no space available," Cavanagh said. "We're in the "We're in the middle of a very serious drug epidemic. We're flooded."

middle of a very serious drug epidemic. We're flooded."

Officials at Seton House, the drug detoxification and rehabilitation arm of Providence Hospital, and the Washington Hospital Center said that they too must tell people to wait for treatment. "We're always full, and we have a waiting list," said Shirlette Satterwhite, head nurse at the Hospital Center detoxification unit.

"You can't expect people to wait a month or so given what's going on in the city," Satterwhite said. "They go back into the street. They go back into the home environment, where other family members are using drugs."

According to Jackson, the city clinics have 3,600 outpatient slots for alcohol and drug abusers and 400 inpatient slots. In the fiscal year ending last October, he said, about 13,000 people passed through those slots, up from 12,000 in 1986 and 11,000 in 1985.

About 58 percent of the agency's clients are referrals from the city's court system, where judges often allow narcotic abusers to seek treatment rather than go to jail.

All people seeking treatment from ADASA must first have an appointment at the agency's central intake division, where they receive an examination before they are referred for treatment. Jackson said that last summer the waiting period for an appointment was no longer than two weeks, but the list of people seeking help has climbed steadily since.

Jackson said he would like ADASA to develop the capacity to treat 20,000 people annually by 1994, which he said would entail adding seven more outpatient facilities and the capacity to treat another 100 people on an inpatient level.

But first, he emphasized, he wants to make sure the three planned clinics open up this year.

Jackson said he is not worried that the mayor's proposed budget for ADASA calls for an increased appropriation of only $226,000. "As we develop the program, if I need to come in for a supplemental {budget request}, I'll do it," Jackson said. "The practice in the past has been to make grandiose projections."

"At this point, I'm not going to project a large increase {in facilities} in 1989 because I don't have any place to put it," he said. "I want to bring the clinics on line and then determine where other sites can be located."

Joseph Wright, executive director of the Washington Area Council on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse and an occasional critic of ADASA, agreed that the agency is "not only to blame."

"The community won't let you set up a clinic," he said. "They say it's a good idea, but they won't help out."