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Keaton's Place: A mother's mission to help others after losing son to addiction

Susan Hunt lost her 20-year-old son Keaton to drug addiction. Now, she's helping other families in his honor.

RANDOLPH COUNTY, N.C. — Susan Hunt lost her son to drug addiction in 2019. 

The Randolph County mother said her son Keaton was 20 years old and had his whole life in front of him. 

“He was my firstborn, most wonderful child in the entire universe. Very caring, very loving, would do anything for his friends, would do anything for anybody, just a caring, loving person who made a few bad decisions later on in his life,” Hunt said.

'The best way I can heal is giving back'

Since then, she's been working to help others who are battling addiction. 

“We are trying to educate the kids that this doesn’t just happen on TV. This happens in your neighborhood," she said.

Hunt opened a rehabilitation center, Keaton’s Place, in Randolph County. She said she wanted to help other families who were going through similar situations and maybe didn’t know where to get help.

“There are so many people who are trying to get clean from drugs. This is another obstacle that they do not have to go through. Now that I can navigate the system, I have to be able to help other people do it,” Hunt said.

She said in a way, the rehabilitation center helped her grieve. She felt like her son was there with her. 

“The best way that I can heal is giving back and helping people navigate this, that I had such a hard time navigating,” Hunt said.  

How Keaton's Place is helping

In North Carolina, drug overdose deaths increased from 2,352 in 2019 to 3,304 in 2020. There were also nearly 15,000 emergency department visits related to drug overdoses in 2020. 

According to Hunt, the center doesn’t just focus on Randolph County but state to state.   

This month, her rehabilitation center has helped 162 people get into rehab, detox, or sober living centers.

“It’s not just Randolph County. We have helped people in Florida. We have helped people all over the state and have had people call us for resources in different states,” Hunt said. 

'A Keaton's Place in every county' 

Now she wants to do more. Through this center, she hopes that one day she can touch more lives.

“There needs to be in my opinion, a Keaton's Place in every county, in every state, because it is so hard to get these people who are using where they need to go,” Hunt said. 

She says overcoming the stigma behind drug addiction is hard but Keaton’s Place can and will serve as a resource to anyone who needs it. Her message is clear to those who may be struggling and who don’t know what that first step is.

“One little mistake, one little bad decision can change their life forever. So, come see us, we do a lot of outreach in person and over the phone,” Hunt said. 

More information on Keaton’s Place and his story can be found here. 

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