The Sojourner center is planning to open a branch in Franklin. The location of the proposed 16-bed inpatient drug and alcohol treatment center for men is on Industrial Drive. NICK GRAHAM/STAFF

Substance abuse treatment facility to open in Franklin

Sojourner Recovery Services of Hamilton was looking to expand their operations into Warren County and found a location in one of the city’s industrial parks to open a 16-bed inpatient facility for men, said Scott Gehring, president and CEO of the organization.

“We were looking for something close to Butler and Preble counties and we were looking for an ideal location,” he said. “We’re really excited. It’s a great opportunity to provide these services in Franklin and Warren County.”

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Gehring said once they located the Franklin site at 235 Industrial Drive, the organization found the building and three acres and wooded setting that would be tranquil for their patients. He said the patients are there voluntarily to seek treatment for their addictions and have been referred to the organization as part of a criminal court procedure.

“We’re a treatment center, not a correctional center, Gehring said.

He said about 80 percent of the organization’s patients are addicted to opiates and heroin even though alcohol is the most abused drug in the nation.

RELATED: Expert: Heroin epidemic a ‘genocide’ if not stopped

“It’s a seriously addictive drug and that the face of addiction has really changed,” Gehring said. “Studies indicate that about 26 percent of the population are genetically predisposed to being addicted to heroin after one use.”

He said Sojourner would be partnering with the Ohio Mental Health Board and Warren and Clinton County Recover Services Board.

“There is no other residential treatment facility in Warren County and unfortunately, the need is there,” he said.

MORE: Sojourner doubles size of men’s drug rehab program

Gehring said the total capital investment in opening the treatment facility is about $500,000 and the organization would have a payroll of about $500,000 a year. He hopes to close on the property in the next three to four weeks.

Law Director Donnette Fisher said the Sojourner organization reached out to Franklin city officials and met with the city’s Economic Development Committee in December to see if there could be a change in the zoning code to permit residential treatment facilities in industrial zones. The committee forwarded that to City Council which approved the zoning change as a conditional use that was approved in February and took effect March 8. The organization went to the Planning Commission where the conditional use variance was approved, she said. Because it was now a conditional use, the variance request did not have to go to City Council for approval, Fisher said.

“With the drug and alcohol problem we have today, there’s a need for it,” Fisher said.Expert: Heroin epidemic a ‘genocide’ if not stopped

She said the facility would have 16 male residents for 30 to 90-day treatment periods. Fisher said the patients would be escorted to appointments by facility staff and would not be permitted to wander around.

Gehring said facility would be staffed 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The organization operates nine other facilities for men and women in Hamilton and in Preble County as a comprehensive alcohol and drug addiction and mental health service provider.

“I think its great for our community that we’re trying to help people,” said City Manager Sonny Lewis.

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