ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla.-- St. Johns County tops the state list in health and education, but there's one stat that often goes under the radar.
It ranks 4th in adult binge drinking.
"Those numbers are prevalent in our community, but yet, we don't have anywhere for people with acute care to get medical care," Patti Greenbough, CEO of Epic Behavioral Healthcare, said.
other words: St. Johns County doesn't have a detox center-- making it the largest county in the state without one. In result, people struggling with alcohol and substance addiction have to go elsewhere.
"They're going to Palatka, Jacksonville, Volusia County," Greenbough continued.
This week, St. Augustine City Commissioners voted on a resolution to support a new center. The proposed building would have 12 beds and serve about 650 people. Right now, without it, people in the area simply go to the hospital or end up behind bars.
It's a problem Police Chief Laran Lueders says can be solved by providing detox services.
"Put the officer back on the street, and they'll save money for the ER's time, and the jail won't have to house them, which is a very expensive process," he said.
Right now, no exact location for the center has been decided on, but there are three options. City leaders are seeking state funding to offset the cost of the center. Currently, it would be about $2 million to build and another $1.3 million to operate annually.