SANTA ROSA COUNTY, Fla. (WKRG) — The opioid crisis has been a major issue throughout the country and according to research from the American Medical Association Covid-19 has made drug overdoses even worse.
This is one of the reasons Santa Rosa County in Florida is opening its first-ever comprehensive treatment center to help with rising numbers.
WKRG got an exclusive first look at what it will be offering the community and why there is such a need for it.
Right now about 80 percent of residents in the county struggling with opioid addictions in Santa Rosa County are having to seek help in Escambia County.
According to Florida Department of Health, Bureau of Community health assessment and Division of Public Health Statistics:
Santa Rosa County (population 184,313) has seen at least 69 opioid overdose deaths in the past 5 years.
- 224 non-fatal opioid overdoses
- 389 opioid related ER visits
- 332 opioid related hospitalizations
Panhandle Treatment Center Director Andrew LaFontant says, “Santa Rosa County was one of the rural areas that needed a medication treatment center and so Acadia Healthcare won that bid.”
After going through a rigorous process and getting picked by the state, the healthcare provider started building a state-of-the-art facility back in November of 2020. Something the county has never seen.
LaFontant tells WKRG, “From any other providers is ‘A’ the availability and the access that clients will have towards us. Sometimes clients would have to wait for 2 to 3 weeks to set up an appointment but when it comes to this opioid addiction you don’t have that much time.”
They have hand picked the top experienced candidates in the region for their staff to ensure their clients the best help available and providing quicker treatment and giving them more options in the area.
“We already have clients or perspective clients asking when are you guys going to be open. They are excited to come in and that’s for those who are in treatment or want treatment as well,” LaFontant says.
The Panhandle Comprehensive Treatment Center will be able to help nearly 400 residents and only cost about $15 for any treatment or service they have open a day.
However for LaFontant and his staff says its more about having a place that doesn’t have a negative stigma and creating an atmosphere where people want to stay and keep coming back.
“I keep in mind that this is somebody’s loved one and make sure they are not forgotten back,” LeFontant adds.
At this point, they don’t have an official opening date but say a ribbon cutting ceremony is coming up and are ready for anyone and everyone.
The new center is located at 4553 Watkins Street in Pace, Florida.
For more information about what they will be offering, click here or call (850) 800-2772.