LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- A new detox unit is open at U of L Health-Mary and Elizabeth Hospital in south Louisville.

Mary & Elizabeth Hospital has offered detox services in the past, but the new medical detox unit will allow a specialized team to address the ongoing opioid epidemic.

The voluntary medical detox unit is staffed by medical personnel and therapists who are specifically trained to treat behavioral health issues and addiction.

"Addiction to opioids, alcohol, or any other substance is a concerning medical issue — not a moral failing — and these patients need ready access to knowledgeable, compassionate care," Jeff Graves, MD, chief medical officer at Mary & Elizabeth Hospital, said in a news release. 

Hospital officials said the unit will also address the disproportionate number of people in south Louisville suffering from addiction.

"When I found out that we had such an epidemic here, it pulled at my heartstrings, and I knew we had to do something about it," said Melisa Adkin, chief administrative officer of U of L Health-Mary and Elizabeth Hospital. "Because, as Martha said, part of being here means we have to serve the needs of the community, and this was a big need and it stuck out in a very large way.

"By increasing access to these services to the most vulnerable populations in the area, we are doing our part to help set them up for long-term success."

The new unit opened with 12 private rooms but has the capacity to care for as many as 25 patients.

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