California's largest outpatient treatment center for heroin and opioid addicts, Aegis, has several locations around the Central Coast and is looking to expand its reach to Lompoc.
Jeffrey Curtis is in his fourth year as the clinical manager of the Aegis treatment center in Santa Maria.
Curtis said the number of patients the center serves continues to rise.
Currently, he said the center serves 475 patients. About 85 of those come from Lompoc six days a week for services.
For those who own cars, that means at least an hour of driving, and for those that rely on public transportation from Lompoc to Santa Maria, the travel time is even greater.
The clinic said they have done what they can to make services available to as many people as possible, but Curtis says he hopes the future satellite treatment center in Lompoc makes it easier for people to receive treatment.
"Currently we are looking at a place in Vandenberg Village," Curtis said. "It is a small office suite that serves four people. Nothing is definitive on it yet."
Those at Aegis said finding a location has been challenging for many reasons, but one of them is the stigma that comes with seeking treatment.
Dr. Kristopher Dane Howalt said many do not realize treatment is comprised of medication and counseling services once a week.
"There is many people in Lompoc who would do well on this treatment and who would want to be engaged in this treatment, but it would not be available to them because they don't have the transportation," Howalt said.
The clinic in Santa Maria will be holding an open house sometime in November so people can learn more about the facility and ask questions.
According to the Santa Barbara County Department of Behavioral Wellness, the county will assist Aegis in the certification and licensing process, but ultimately, the final approval has to be given by the state.