Kokomo native Dan Metz left his hometown a little more than half a decade ago for Florida to get clean and turn his life around.

“I spent more than a decade getting high in Kokomo,” Metz said. “I finally reached my bottom and decided it was time to get help. I found, though, that there were no options locally from a medical sense to remove myself from the obsession.”

A Google search resulted in recovery centers in south Florida. So Metz packed his bags and entered rehab in south Florida, got clean and got involved in the recovery community.

Now, with help from co-owner and also former addict Rudy Rice and a few others, Metz has started his own licensed inpatient, outpatient and partial hospitalization recovery center in the City of Firsts.

First City Recovery Center, located in a renovated, former dairy plant at 317. W Jefferson St. in downtown Kokomo, is now open and operational. It could employ up to 20 people — including behavioral health technicians, primary therapists, an executive director, drivers and janitorial staff — will operate 24/7 and will have onsite parking located just west of the building.

The for-profit business works out of three separate properties in the downtown area it’s using for its various programs.

The main building on Jefferson Street houses the organization’s one-week detox center and its clinical and outpatient programs, which include group and family therapy, cognitive behavior therapy and more.

The program is a commitment and could last anywhere from 120 to 180 days, a length Metz stressed is important for the best possible chance at successful recovery.

“It’s statistically proven with years of study that the longer you are in treatment, the more likely you are to be successful, so we want people to come for 120 days if you’re actively using drugs or actively drinking,” he said.

“We want you to start with detox and end four months down the road with outpatient visits once a month. Of course, it’s not one-size fits all so you’re going to have people who just come for detox, or there’s going to be people that come here for a 30-day program, but if you left it up to me, you would come here for a 120 days and then continue to follow up after that.”

The inpatient, detox center that will be opening soon includes eight beds, a kitchen, an exercise and recreational room and kitchen. The outpatient clinic also has leisure activities for patients, including limited access to the internet, table tennis, video games and TV.

The business is using two other properties on East Monroe Street. One property will serve as a 24/7 monitored and staffed apartment complex that clients going through the recovery program can use as a transitional living facility before fully rejoining the real world. The other is a renovated house that was partially destroyed by a meth lab that will be used as housing for licensed business professionals, such as doctors and lawyers, who might need to meet certain requirements in their treatment to keep their license.

“This is a meth lab redone, which I love because it’s the exact message of rebirth we are trying to say,” Metz said about the organization’s recently purchased house.

First City Recovery Center opened in March, and since then it already has a few clients enrolled in its programs. Receiving treatment at the facility is only a phone call away, though the business also works through referrals with other programs, such as Turning Point — System of Care, probation and local drug courts.

While there’s various sober living facilities in Howard County, Metz and Rice said they’re currently the only organization in the county to be licensed to do both residential and detox treatment.

“This is professional, medical care,” Rice said.

For Metz, opening First City Recovery is personal.

“I never did anything to help Kokomo,” he said about his days abusing drugs. “All I’ve done is take from Kokomo. So I decided to get into the treatment world and to come back to Kokomo so someone who was like me (struggling with drug addiction) has the option to stay in Kokomo, get better in Kokomo and then be a visible version of recovery for Kokomo.”

Tyler Juranovich can be reached at 765-454-8577, by email at tyler.juranovich@kokomotribune.com or on Twitter at @tylerjuranovich

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