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The Dawn Center Intensive Outpatient Program

  • Need: To treat substance addiction in rural South Carolina avoiding expensive inpatient facilities, including a treatment aim of keeping patients in their home communities.
  • Intervention: The Dawn Center offers an outpatient program for patients with substance abuse and addiction.
  • Results: Patients can receive counseling and treatment closer to home while becoming a part of the local recovery community.


In rural Orangeburg, South Carolina, no local inpatient programs for adults with opioid addiction are available. For people who do seek treatment from inpatient facilities, after discharge they receive little or no follow-up care and have no connections to the recovering community in their hometown.

The Dawn Center, operated by the Tri-County Commission on Alcohol and Drug Abuse, helps treat individuals with moderate to severe substance abuse habits and addiction. Through the Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP), the center offers a "mixture of individual counseling, group counseling, family counseling, life skills development, relapse prevention and introduction to the self-help community." These services are delivered at a fraction of an inpatient facility's cost, and allow individuals to remain near their support system in their home area.

In addition, The Dawn Center has a trained physician to assist with clients needing prescription-based intervention. The Dawn Center will not continue to prescribe medication unless the client is actively engaged in services.

The IOP services are best suited for people who have a dependence, but also have some stability or support in their living environment. Clients can remain in their community where they can become grounded in recovery.

Reimbursement challenges have also been mitigated by funding from the single state authority, the Department of Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse Services. This provides coverage for physician visits and medication for indigent clients, providing improved service quality for those in need. In addition, The Dawn Center also bills Medicaid, private third party insurances, and self-paying clients for services.

Since inception, public transportation barriers in these rural and low-income counties have been problematic. But in February 2017, an additional office in Santee was opened. Staffed with a full-time counselor and full-time administrative assistant, transportation barriers in the eastern part of the county are being overcome.

In February 2017, the Dawn Center, and the three additional Tri-County Commission on Alcohol and Drug Abuse programs, were accredited by the Joint Commission.

Services offered

The program meets 3 days per week for 3 hours each day. Private and after-hour appointments are also available. Services include:

  • Initial assessment of treatment needs
  • Individual, group, and family counseling
  • If needed, medication can be prescribed by a specialty physician who is on site one day per week
  • Case management discharge planning
  • Referrals to local vocational rehabilitation department for job skills training
  • Assistance for social services applications

As part of a larger state network receiving a USDA Rural Development Grant, equipment is being installed across the state with tentative Tri-Country use by end of 2017. This will help mitigate physician visit and transportation challenges for some clients.


To date, 158 people have received IOP services, and 376 have received medication-assisted treatment (MAT).


A federal waiver is required for some medications used to assist treatment, and client numbers are limited per physician. This requires an essential partnership with established physicians, or recruiting an in-house physician.

Contact Information

Mike Dennis, Executive Director
Tri-County Commission on Alcohol and Drug Abuse
The Dawn Center Intensive Outpatient Program
803.536.4900 ext. 113

Illicit drug use
Substance abuse

States served
South Carolina

Date added
June 10, 2016

Date updated or reviewed
June 15, 2017

Please contact the models and innovations contact directly for the most complete and current information about this program. Summaries of models and innovations are provided by RHIhub for your convenience. The programs described are not endorsed by RHIhub or by the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy. Each rural community should consider whether a particular project or approach is a good match for their community’s needs and capacity. While it is sometimes possible to adapt program components to match your resources, keep in mind that changes to the program design may impact results.