Franklin County breaks ground on new rehab center

Franklin County

FRANKLIN COUNTY, Fla. (WMBB) — For years now, Franklin County Sheriff AJ Smith has seen the need for a substance abuse rehab center grow in the area, and now the idea is finally coming to fruition.

“It’s a once in a generation or two generation kind of facility, for somewhere like Franklin County,” said CEO of Big Bend Community Based Care, Mike Watkins.

With land from what was once a church, right near Weems Memorial Hospital, two acres of land has been selected for the new Franklin Wellness Facility.

Funded by Big Bend Community Based Care as well as state dollars, the center will be a modern, state of the art facility.

“There will be 16 beds with services for both inpatient and outpatient. There will be room for training so that folks can if they need to get their GED they can, or computer skills,” said Franklin County Sheriff, AJ Smith.

No one will be turned away due to lack of finances or insurance.

“The state of Florida is already funding community mental health and substance abuse services, so if they have insurance, we certainly will bill the insurance, if they don’t, then we have those funds through the state to pay for those that don’t have any insurance,” said Watkins. 

“It’s not gonna cost them anything, except the desire to live a clean life,” said Smith.

The facility will allow staff to combat the county’s drug problem head on.

“There’s a huge population here for mental health issues and drug issues. So this is going to be a huge help to getting those folks leading productive lives, and to get them clean., get them off drugs and help them to raise their families.” said Smith.

“For the people that need it the most, they can get it right here in the community. It’s local. Secondly it brings professional jobs into this community, so that all of the therapists, the treatment providers will all be in Apalachicola instead of somewhere else. And finally, it’s an opportunity for families to stay together,” said Watkins.

Staff working on the wellness center expect the construction timeline to be anywhere from 6 to 8 months.

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