St. Johns County unveils new detoxification center

ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. – St. Johns County was the largest county in Florida without a detoxification center -- until Wednesday, when a new 16-bed facility for adults was unveiled for the community to see.

Epic Recovery, located at 3574 U.S. Highway 1 South in St. Augustine, will be a 24-hour facility for residents who struggle with substance abuse.

It's anticipated the center will help 650 people recover from drugs and alcohol addiction by the end of 2014.

Epic Recovery is the first detoxification center in the county in 20 years. Before, residents would travel to nearby counties like Duval, Putnam or Volusia. But managers say 80 percent of locals who needed treatment could not physically get access in 2012.

Patti Greenough, the center's CEO, said the lack of resources and funding shut the first center down.

"We are ecstatic," she said. "This has been a true community effort of so many people."

It was a concerted effort from law enforcement to city, county, state and health leaders to push for the $1.65 million space with $1.3 million in yearly support from the state Legislature.

Greenough said each treatment room was strategically painted and designed with the patient in mind.

"The whole idea is to provide this homelike atmosphere for them," Greenough said.

It's that instead of the feeling of a jail cell. St. Johns County Undersheriff Joel Bolante said that's where many drug abusers would end up going without getting the proper treatment.

"This will be a great benefit for our community," Bolante said. "As you know, there are no detox facilities in our county. So when we have to deal with folks who need detox services, we are constrained to taking them to the St. John's County jail, but that's not necessarily the best place to put somebody."

At Epic Recovery, 28 staff members will provide substance abuse treatment.

The facility will officially open for service late next week.