New Substance Abuse Clinic Fills 80-Mile Treatment Gap In WNC

Dec 5, 2019


  Yesterday, we heard about a lack of homeless shelters between Waynesville and Murphy.  Today, we look at a similar gap in substance abuse treatment centers in the same 80-mile distance. In Macon County here is a new treatment facility that hopes to fill that gap:  

Hazelwood Healthcare sits along Highway 441 to Georgia just past Franklin. It opened this week. 

“This is where you come back.” 

That’s Dr. Matt Holmes. He’s the clinic physician and sponsor. 

Dr. Matt Holmes is the clinic physician. He's been practicing medicine in Western North Carolina for over 15 years.
Credit Lilly Knoepp

“They can come in and take their medicine and then if they don’t have appointments. They can just get on with their day,”says Holmes. 

Holmes has been practicing medicine in Western North Carolina for over 15 years. He opened a much smaller suboxone clinic in Waynesville in 2018. He says the need for substance treatment clinic drew him to Macon County.  

Substance abuse was the #1 priority in the Macon County Community Health Assessment for 2018 but with an 80 mile ride to treatment, transportation is a barrier for people to get the care that they need, says Holmes. 

“Especially, early on when you have to go every day,it's a significant cost and commitment that not everyone's able to do,” says Holmes. 

Holmes explains that treatment facilities provide a structured place for medicine to be distributed and for patients to talk with clinicians. For example, the clinic will be open at 6am so that participants can get medicine before heading to work. 

“The best circumstances is when we can hopefully provide an environment where people feel comfortable to talk about what's there for them and what's happening,” says Holmes. 

People who want to be treated at the clinic can walk in or make an appointment. It’s about $84 per week for methodone and a bit more for subxone, says Holmes. The team will set up a care plan with each individual based on their needs.  

In a few months, Holmes plans to have an open house. He hopes this will remove some of the stigma around treatment clinics. 

“We will hopefully have people - anyone from the community  - and I hope they can come and see what it's like here. So it's not a mysterious place,” explains Holmes.  

Hazelwood is a private healthcare clinic. Patients can pay out of pocket or through Medicaid. The clinic’s current capacity is about 150 participants.