Region 8 opens women’s dependency center in Hazlehurst

The most recent addition to the Region 8 Steve Amos Mental Health Complex located just behind Pizza Hut off Highway 28 West was opened recently.

Left: Dave Van, Region 8 Executive Director and Copiah County Chancery Clerk Steve Amos, Region 8 Commissioner, celebrated the completion of the new facility.

by Joe B. Coates
The doors opened on Wednesday, February 29 on a brand new Region 8 facility in Hazlehurst-one that will not only be a useful tool to help women who are trying to defeat drug and alcohol addiction, but will also be a boom to the local economy.
Dave Van, Regional Director of Region 8 and many other leaders in the institution, welcomed a crowd of local elected officials and other community leaders at the soft open house.  Van led a brief welcoming ceremony before those who attended toured the new facility.
“We are so excited today to be able to have you all here at the newest addition to the Steve Amos Mental Health Complex,” Van said, “and, we are thrilled to be ever closer to be able to serve the people of Copiah County and south Mississippi.”
The new $2.5 million facility was built totally from a reserve fund of fees from services, Van explained.  “No county, nor state tax funds were used,” he stated.  And, of the $500,000 needed to operate annually as projected, $150,000 has been appropriated by the MS Department of Health, he added.  The rest of the funding will come from user fees.
The economic impact of having the facility built in Copiah County will be felt by many.  A total of 24 full timers will be employed by the center once it is up and fully running, probably by May 1, Van said.  “These are new jobs coming to Copiah County.  And, we are proud to provide them,” he added.
Most importantly, the center will be the home of south Mississippi’s only provider of alcohol and drug addiction services to women who are ready to be treated.  “For such a long time, we didn’t have any type of facility like this in the area.  We had to send clients to Vicksburg or Jackson or some other place in north Mississippi for treatment.  Now, we will serve not only our region, but the entire state of Mississippi,” Van explained.
Services are available to all women who are suffering from the addictions, “no matter their ability to pay,” Van said.  The 28 to 30 day program includes a $1,800 fee that is much less costly than many private service providers of this type, he added.  Region 8 will work with the client if the affordability is an issue.  “Let it be clear that we are here to serve those in need, to help them get back on their feet, no matter their financial situation or background,” Van explained.
Perry Hood, Copiah Dist. 3 supervisor and president of the Copiah County Board of Supervisors, praised the new facility as well.  “We are fortunate to have Dave Van on our side.  He has stepped up and helped make this vision a reality.  And, we appreciate this latest investment that Region 8 has made in Copiah County,” Hood said.  Region 8 also owns three other buildings in the area where the new center is located on the Hwy. 28 boulevard area in northern Hazlehurst.  The organization has invested around $5 million in facilities alone in the past ten years in the area.
“We also appreciate the support of the Copiah County Board of Supervisors, which allows us to be the mental health provider in the county,” Van added.
Copiah County Chancery Clerk Steve Amos serves as Copiah County’s Region 8 commissioner.  Amos, who has been involved with several similar projects over the past few years–and for whom the complex is named–was instrumental in landing the center in Copiah County.  “We’ve needed this type facility here for years.  It will truly be a blessing in so many ways once it is operational,” Amos said.
After the brief ceremony, Region 8 leaders and staff members led the audience on tours of the center and provided refreshments.
Ground-breaking on the center took place in late 2010. The contracting firm of Gulf South Construction of Madison was the winning bidder on the project.  Architectural services were provided by Carl Nobles of Hazlehurst.
For more information, visit Region 8 on the internet at http://www.region8mhs.org/alcoholAndDrugTreatment.html.

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