A local doctor is expanding his business to mitigate a “disease” that he suspects will never be wiped out — drug and alcohol addiction.

Emerald Coast Recovery is now The Destin Recovery Center with Terrance Reeves as its chief medical director.

Addiction to substances such as prescription pain killers or sedatives, which are often illegally sold on the street or overly prescribed by “pill mills,” illegal opiates such as heroin, and alcohol is a serious health care issue, according to Reeves.

The recovery center, which offers outpatient and residential treatment, is designed from the ground up to help addicts kick their habits and then institute lifestyle changes that’ll keep them off drugs.

Reeves characterized his practice as scientifically based.

The doctor said substance abusers can subdue withdrawal symptoms in about five days once they stop taking the culprit drugs.

The enduring challenge is destroying the addiction, which he defined as “a combination of physical craving and mental obsession. Our body has to have it and our mind won’t stop thinking about it.”

Part of his philosophy rests on the notion that addiction is a disease because it has physiological symptoms.

“This is a medical condition,” he said. “It causes measurable changes in the body and brain.”

Like many other diseases, diabetes for example, addiction can be “chronic, progressive, and fatal” if untreated, he added.

Reeves also mentioned some people are genetically prone to abuse substances, while others stumble into addiction because of lifestyle circumstances.

“It may start (recreationally) or as a coping skill,” said the addiction specialist.

The recovery center provides counseling and group therapy, as well as medical aid, to help patients return to normal lives. Some of its facilities are still under construction.

The recovery center is part of the South Walton Medical Group, which is based in Miramar Beach.

For information about the recovery center or to register as a patient, call toll free 855-638-7258.