Closed hospital could house rehab center

Randy Garner | Civitas Media Per Wickstrom, CEO of Life Solutions, hopes to purchase the now-closed Marlboro Park Hospital in Bennettsville, South Carolina, to open his seventh drug rehabilitation center.

BENNETTSVILLE, S.C. — Per Wickstrom has been working to open a drug and alcohol rehab center in Cheraw since 2003. Now the Life Solutions CEO has set his sights on the recently closed Marlboro Park Hospital as a possible location for his newest facility.

The facility would be his first in South Carolina and seventh in the nation. Wickstrom said the facility would be a “gigantic employment opportunity” for the area, as it would need a variety of medical professionals on staff

“If we can get the hospital to entertain an offer, we can open the place up and bring hundreds of jobs back in the industry,” he said.

Wickstrom said the facility will differ from other rehabilitation services, at it will offer a series of options in addition to 12-step programs including holistic and faith-based treatments, art and music programs and a yoga program. Wickstrom said his facilities address fitness as well as rehabilitation.

“We work on the body — getting the body healthy, getting the individual withdrawal from drugs,” he said. “The next phase we go to, we talk about underlying issues. Why does a person want to use drugs? What happened in the past that they are trying to cover up?”

Wickstrom said the facility will then work on life skills, helping clients find employment through training or continuing their education. Wickstrom said the final stage is what he calls “aftercare” — helping clients adjust to life once they leave the facility.

Wickstrom said the facility will also grant the clients a degree of agency over their treatment, as they will be able to help put together their own treatment program.

“We don’t try to pound the square peg through round hole because it just doesn’t work,” Wickstrom said, explaining that everybody’s different.

“There is no no time frame where the patient needs to be clean,” said Wickstrom. “We don’t base the program on a time limit. We base it on results.”

Wickstrom said he got into drug and alcohol rehab after struggling with his own addiction for 17 years. Wickstrom said he took different elements from the rehab facilities to create what he called a “workable system.”

I went to five different treatment programs,” Wickstrom said. “I finally found one that worked, and I finally designed my own drug and alcohol treatment center after giving people a choice of how to do recovery instead of boxing them into just one philosophy.”

Reach reporter Randy Garner at 843-537-5261 and follow him on Twitter @CherawChronicle.