Fayette County’s Medical Detox Facility

In a society where the opioid epidemic and substance use disorders continue to devastate families, Fayette County, like many other communities, is grappling with the pressing need for accessible and timely drug treatment centers. The hurdles faced by those striving to establish such facilities have come to the forefront, shedding light on the decades-old state zoning provision that hampers their efforts and exposes the challenges faced by advocates like Adam Kaye, an Atlanta-based lawyer, who navigates a convoluted process to establish a medical detox facility in Fayette County. The facility on Highway 54, proposed by Ben Carter of Peachtree Wellness Solutions, symbolizes a potential beacon of hope for Fayette County. Carter, a resident of Fayette County for the past five years, believes that such local facilities not only provide essential services for individuals but also foster connections with wellness services, support groups, and aftercare resources, creating a comprehensive approach to recovery.

In the ongoing local efforts to find ways to adequately support families in Fayette County impacted by substance use disorder, community members often find themselves navigating a maze of terms and types of facilities, sometimes leading to misconceptions and oversimplifications. One common misconception in our community stems from the belief that all drug and alcohol treatment facilities are alike. This oversimplification often lumps acute medical detox centers together with in-patient or out-patient treatment facilities, leading to negative perceptions.

To dispel misunderstandings, it’s essential to highlight that acute medical detox centers operate with a specialized approach in a setting that is similar to a hospital facility; with the most notable difference being that the hospital setting is conducive to individuals requiring simultaneous management of substance withdrawal and other medical issues, whereas an acute medical detox center, as defined by Georgia regulations, specializes in providing intensive, short-term medical care specifically for substance withdrawal. Both settings, however, employ a multidisciplinary team, including medical professionals, counselors, and support staff, to ensure comprehensive care during the crucial detoxification process. As we work towards creating a more empathetic and informed community, it is imperative to correct misunderstandings surrounding acute medical detox centers. By acknowledging the distinct role of a medical detox center, we can foster a more compassionate understanding of the various components of drug and alcohol treatment as we work towards creating a more empathetic and informed Fayette County Community.

The Problem

Data: total 69 overdose deaths in the last 5 years in Fayette
Source: Georgia Department of Public Health’s OASIS database

The Atlanta Journal Constitution’s recent article, “Advocates say Ga. law hampers efforts to open drug treatment centers“, authored by Katherine Landergan, exposes the challenges faced by advocates like Adam Kaye, an Atlanta-based lawyer, who navigates a convoluted process to establish a medical detox facility in Fayette County.

The obstacles imposed by a waiting period, ranging from six to nine months, have spurred Kaye to lobby for the repeal of the statute, citing both financial losses and potential violations of federal laws protecting individuals in recovery.

Fayette County stands at a crucial juncture, facing both the devastating effects of the drug crisis and the potential for transformative change. The challenges highlighted in the Atlanta Journal Constitution’s article underscore the urgent need for accessible drug treatment centers. As local advocates and leaders strive to overcome bureaucratic hurdles, their efforts reflect a collective call for a more compassionate and effective response to the growing crisis, offering hope and assistance to those on the challenging journey of recovery.

What’s the Process of Detoxification?

Professional detoxification from alcohol and other drugs involves three essential components, including:

  1. Evaluation- which is where the clinical professionals at a detoxification center perform a thorough evaluation of patients’ physical and psychological condition and history. Initial evaluations may assess a person’s acute intoxication and withdrawal potential, biomedical conditions, and more. From this assessment, the clinical professionals are able to recommend a detoxification level of care and create an individualized treatment plan for patients.
  2. Stabilization- which entails a detox center following an individualized treatment plan and its prescribed therapies and medications to assist a patient through a safe withdrawal experience.
  3. Fostering a patient’s entry into longer-term substance abuse treatment, which can increase a person’s chances of sustaining their recovery and avoid relapse. Detox alone is rarely sufficient to help a person sustain long-term recovery as it doesn’t address the complex psychological and social aspects substance use. A powerful goal of detoxification treatment is to prepare clients for their next ideal phase of rehabilitation, which may be short-term residential treatment, long-term residential treatment, or outpatient care.

Although these are some of the most standard components and goals of detoxification, patients’ individual goals, duration in treatment, and overall treatment processes may vary. Detoxification in a professional detoxification facility may also involve the use of various medications to help a patient manage their withdrawal symptoms safely, comfortably, and in a controlled environment.


Quotes from community stakeholders &
concerned community members:

“It doesn’t matter what walk of life you come from, what race you are, what gender you align to, what religion you practice, or how safe you think your community is; you and your family are not immune from the drug crisis that has a tight grip on the US, and Fayette County is a part of this crisis. Whether it is the mass levels of fentanyl coming into the country or the raging opioid epidemic that has been tearing at the fabric of families for years, the tragedies are real. Over 96,700 people die from drug overdoses each year. My guess is there is someone close to you who is fighting this battle or has already lost it. For me, my kids lost their mother to an overdose after she was a long-time victim of the opioid epidemic. The problem then, as with now, is the lack of support regarding these addictions.”

I have been a resident of Fayette county for the past 5 years. In those 5 years I have also been a participant in the recovery community along with working in the Behavioral Health field. There has been a lack of resources to serve our community “locally” for quite some time now. When discussing access to treatment with other healthcare professionals in our area, this question comes up. “How can we increase resources and access to care South of Atlanta?” The Detox trying to open in Fayetteville on Highway 54 will provide some support to furthering this mission.  Part of my previous work experience was working Front line in admissions for Treatment Facilities. During those conversations with Family members and patients who were residents of Fayette & Coweta County, Informing them of options were met with hesitancy. The 1 hour and 30-minute drive to a detox facility most appropriate for them was a long way off when working with a small window of opportunity for someone to commit to treatment. A few times I have had reports of patients jumping out of a vehicle at stop lights in Atlanta because they changed their mind. Making the decision to go to detox when your life has been consumed with significant Substance use daily is not an easy one. We’re dealing with indecisiveness, irritability, fear, and uncertainty.  When a treatment facility can lay its roots in a community it can provide more positive influence than just a chance to help an individual get clean and sober. Resources connecting with local wellness services, community access to support groups, case management services for rebuilding careers or finding new job opportunities, education, aftercare resources such as psychiatrists, primary therapists, but most importantly are familiar community members that can help support an individual’s journey. I’ve raised a family here in Fayette County, have started businesses here, built long term relationships with loving individuals. From a person in recovery, providing local access to support the development of helping someone create a new life for themselves is a mission that is close to my heart. Being a survivor of the horrors of addiction the stigma must be destroyed. I am not the person I once was and am far from a derelict or nuisance to society. In fact, I have become the complete opposite, a productive member of society helping others walk through the beautiful process of what recovery can create for individuals and their families. One thing that isn’t talked about enough is what Detox facilities can provide to the families or loved ones of patients. Family support groups and family therapy. I have watched the lives of families change by being introduced to these types of services offered. It introduces the loved ones to a path of healing for themselves and rebuild their own lives as well. The phrase “It takes a village” rings true when helping individuals recover from Substance use and mental health. One thing I can say is that here in Fayette country, We have a strong village of people that are ready and willing to assist in the process of creating new lives.”

“We know that addiction is a chronic and treatable health concern that’s impacting all communities across our nation. It just makes sense to have as many resources available to treat addiction and give more opportunity for community members to get and stay well in recovery.”

“Substance Use Disorders are the problem and easily accessible treatment options are the solution. Local Treatment centers will not create problems that don’t already exist in a community and will likely reduce the impact that SUDs have on the community offering overall improvement. Supporting individuals in recovery promotes stability and well-being.”

“We lost our son to a fentanyl overdose in November. During his addiction journey, we quickly learned there was no detox center on the south side of Atlanta. We unfortunately know of many other families in our area who are dealing with addiction and access to a nearby detox center is a necessity. “

“Any time we have the opportunity to increase access to quality care, that’s the option I’ll pursue. Letting perfection get in the way of progress helps no one.”

“I lost my son, Ryan to fentanyl in 2015.  The stigma of addiction in Fayette County is alive and well! I find it appalling that a hospice center where people go to die gets approval but a detox/crisis center where people go to live and get well can be denied. We need SUD resources in our community to help save lives.”

“After meeting with law enforcement, first responders and some elected officials, I learned that if a person who needs immediately help due to a mental health or substance use crisis the only place available in Fayette County is either the hospital or jail. This seems to present a clear dilemma about the inability to have the kind of services in Fayette County that can place people in crisis where they need to be. As a community we have to find a better way.”

While a decades-old state zoning provision hampers the efforts,
the final public hearing for a medical detox facility proposed for Fayette County
will be held during the Jan. 25, 2024 Fayette County Commissioner meeting.

For More Informaition or on how to get involved with bringing this Medical Detox Facility to Fayette County, GA, contact us at 678-489-3279or Email: drugfreefayette@fayettefactor.org