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Drug treatment center proposed to ‘reactivate’ vacant Lorton site

Praesum on Lorton Road (via Google Maps)

A new drug treatment center could revive a building that has been vacant for more than two decades on Lorton Road.

The Florida-based company Praesum Healthcare Services is seeking Fairfax County’s approval to repurpose the building at 7665 Lorton Road with a medical care facility for inpatient alcohol and addiction treatment and services.

Opioids are the number one cause of unnatural death in Fairfax County, according to the Fairfax-Falls Church Community Services Board. Like elsewhere in the country, people between the ages of 25 and 34 have been hit harder by drug abuse than any other age group.

Although the county’s zoning allows for up to 67 beds, Praesum plans to offer up to 40 beds in the facility, which is off Richmond Highway near Gunston Plaza shopping center. The company says revitalizing the site will require “significant investment to make it operational again.”

The existing two-story building has been vacant for more than 20 years, according to the application. It was most recently used for assisted living and memory care housing.

“This application seeks to provide a much needed service in our community simply by changing the type of care provided under the same use that was previously approved within the existing structure,” a Feb. 7 statement of justification submitted by Praesum says.

Praesum says it hopes individuals struggling with substance abuse will learn to “develop healthy coping skills to deal with stress, triggers and anxiety.” The company did not return requests for comment from FFXnow.

The company has 28 similar facilities throughout the country. The Lorton site is expected to have 15 parking spaces.

In recent years, the county has amped up efforts to address drug abuse.

The Countywide Strategic Plan, a key guiding document for the county that was adopted last year, highlights the need to remove barriers to ensure the equitable access for individuals seeking treatment for substance abuse.

The county’s Opioid and Substance Use Task Force identified a two-pronged approach for fiscal years 2021 and 2022: reducing deaths through prevention and treatment, and using data to describe the problem and evaluate effectiveness.

Praesum’s case is under review by staff. Public hearing dates have not yet been set on the county’s land use docket.

Photo via Google Maps

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