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Ascensa Health (Formerly Known As St. Jude'S Recovery Center)

139 Renaissance Parkway NE, Atlanta, Georgia, 30308
The doors of the St. Jude’s Recovery Center are open to anyone in greater Atlanta seeking treatment from alcohol and drug addiction. The rehab primarily cares for homeless or low-income individuals who cannot afford treatment, and provides a comprehensive continuum of care, including detox, long-term residential, day treatment, family care and aftercare services, as well as a veteran’s halfway house and a special needs house for single parents.

Facility Highlights

  • Individual and Group Counseling
  • Health and Nutrition Education
  • Medication Management


  • Medical Detoxification

    Drugs and alcohol have widespread effects throughout your body, including but not limited to the addiction and/or physical/psychological dependence that develops with substance abuse over time. Many organ systems are affected by addiction and will react to withdrawal. The term “medical detoxification” means that there is a trained and licensed medical professional onsite to monitor your vital signs and protect your physical and emotional health as your body goes through withdrawal.
  • Family Program

    Research shows that the odds of successful, sustained recovery from addiction are far higher when family members and loved ones are involved in treatment. Drug and alcohol addiction often have genetic roots, whether related to substance abuse, mental illness or both. Family dynamics also play a role and, often, family members are the first to realize a loved one has developed an addiction. Also, it’s important for family members to understand and embrace the lifestyle changes that are required to sustain recovery.

Facility Settings

  • Average Location/Amenities

Meet the Staff

  • Suzanne Shaffer, MS
    Suzanne Shaffer, MSPresident & CEO
    As President and CEO of St. Jude's Recovery Center, Suzanne oversees the day-to-day operations of one the largest nonprofit addiction treatment centers in Georgia. She actively manages 140 employees, seven facilities, and an annual operating budget of over $6 million. Suzanne leads St. Jude's mission of providing a comprehensive system of care that sustains long-term recovery from addiction and co-occurring mental health disorders. Suzanne was appointed President and CEO by the Board of Directors in 2012 after serving 13 years as Chief Operating Officer, overseeing Clinical Services, Finance, Food Services, Human Resources and Maintenance. Also during her 25 years at St. Jude's, she served as Director of Administrative Services and Director of Development. Suzanne holds a Master of Science in Health Services Administration from the University of St. Francis and a Bachelor of Science in Human Resources/Direct Services from Mercer University. Suzanne is a founding member of the Georgia Association for the Prevention and Treatment of Substance Abuse. Currently she serves on the DeKalb County COC Planning Committee and is a member of the State Association of Addiction Services.
  • Sue Wiggins, MS
    Sue Wiggins, MSChief Financial Officer
    Sue Wiggin has been the Chief Financial Officer of St. Jude's Recovery Center for 20 years. Sue oversees the organization's finance and information technology departments. Sue is an experienced professional in the fields of finance, business, and marketing. Since joining St. Jude's Recovery Center, she has coordinated all functions of the agency's accounting system, including the development and revision of multiple budgets over $6 million, preparation of monthly, quarterly and annual reports, and preparation of all payroll and tax reports. Under Sue's leadership St. Jude's Recovery Center has maintained its history of operating with a balanced budget and no debt. In addition, Sue is an active member of the Georgia Association of Information Technology and she has been instrumental in the implementation of a new electronic medical records system. Sue has a Master of Science degree in Health Care Administration from St. Francis University and a Bachelor of Science in Business with a concentration in Marketing Management from Miami University.

Treatment Center Links

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St. Jude's Recovery Center is amongst the 144 (45.9 percent) facilities in the state that provides gender-specific services, ranging from residential services and outpatient services, to permanent supportive housing and a coed half-way house, for adult men and women dealing with substance abuse and co-occurring mental health disorders.

Serving mostly low-income individuals, the Atlanta-based facility is also one of the only 55 (17.5 percent) substance abuse treatment centers in the state of offer detoxification on-site.


To treat its clientele, St. Jude's Recovery Center utilizes a variety of evidence-based, comprehensive treatment methods to address a range of mental, behavioral and physical concerns. A 20-bed detoxification unit is medically monitored and typically lasts 16 days, though duration of treatment depends on the individual. Following detoxification treatment, clients will be transfered to an appropriate program.

Residential programming includes individual and group therapy, on-site 12-step meetings, treatment planning, and continuing care. Life skills training, health and nutrition education, job readiness, and other educational workshops prepare clients for life after treatment.

Residents are required to be employed by the end of the program and must attend evening addiction treatment meetings. Medication management is also provided.

St. Jude’s Recovery Center also provides a special needs homeless housing program, a veterans recovery center, and a halfway house. To be admitting into supportive housing, residents are required to complete a minimum of six months of intensive addiction treatment. Those in the halfway house and veteran's program participate in random drug tests and twice weekly aftercare groups.


The facility's website does not have information regarding treatment members, but the vice president of clinical services is a licensed professional counselor. In the state of Georgia, 98.3 percent of all substance abuse treatment facilities have continuing education requirements for staff. To date, the five individuals polled by Rehabs.com on the matter were very satisfied with the aptitude of staff.

Staff Experience and Training: 4.4/5


St. Jude's Recovery Center's detoxification unit has 20 beds, and the Family Care Center has 22 beds. The men's residential unit has 49 beds and the women's unit has 16. The halfway house and veteran's recovery housing each have eight beds, while the homeless special needs program has 42 beds.

While residential treatment is gender-specific, the halfway house is coed. Though little information regarding accommodations is available on the website, five Rehabs.com survey respondents polled on the matter provided high ratings for facility's cleanliness.

Facility Cleanliness and Upkeep: 4.2/5


The three alumni polled by Rehabs.com to date offered differing feedback. Former client A.S. gave five stars for treatment effectiveness, the level of staff support, and for overall accommodations, as well as four stars for the amount of leisure activities and the facility's visitation policy. "The constant meetings and annonymous meetings helped alot," A.S. wrote.

However, an anonymous alum felt the "buildings are old and need renovating," but praised staff, offering four stars for counseling options and treatment of co-occurring disorders. They also strongly agreed that he would recommend the facility to others. Moderate, three-star ratings were given to most other categories, including holistic offerings and the level of family participation.

Alum Tony gave an altogether negative review regarding the facility, referring to St. Jude's as the "worst treatment facility ever," the food as "horrible," and writing that staff "treat you badly and make you feel very uncomfortable."

As of this writing, 21 Google users produced an average rating of 2.4 out of five stars for this facility.[1] A few former clients note that the program worked for them and that they appreciated the staff level of support, but the majority of comments touch upon rude customer service, poor management, and high costs. "I was treated like an inmate," A.J. wrote in a representative negative review.


Four loved ones surveyed by Rehabs.com to date praised most aspects of the facility, specifically the level of family participation, its visitation policies, and for the facility's counseling options. "Personalized attention," one family member listed as a facility strength, with another loved one also cited "personal connection to each patient" as a facility strength.

Connectivity/Visitation Policies: 4.5/5
Family Participation: 4.3/5
Counseling Options: 3.8/5

“I sent my child here for alcohol and drug addiction 4 years ago and he had one set back 6 month after he came out but he had the tools needed to get it together and he's been clean ever since," wrote one anonymous loved one. Another loved one added: "They do a good job of getting you back on your feet. They help you get cleaned up, find a place to stay, and give you skills to help find a job."

All four surveyed individuals agreed that treatment at this center was worth the cost, though one an anonymous individual wrote that treatment for co-occuring disorders could have been better. However, loved ones agreed that they would highly recommend the facility.

Likelihood to Recommend: 4.7/5


Though Rehabs.com has not yet received feedback from former or current staff members, 13 individuals on Indeed gave mostly positive reviews, offering an average rating of 3.5 out of five stars.[2] Eight of these staffers gave four- or five-star ratings. "Totally enjoy working with people and seeing the transformation take place," wrote one individual. "My co-workers and I have fun working hard and giving back."

Despite noting positive experiences connecting with the clients, one individual wrote: "Management is poor and inconsiderate," in a representative remark from those who gave the facility just one, two, or three stars.


St.Jude's Recovery Center provides serves low-income individuals, 75 percent of whom are homeless. St. Jude accepts monetary donations, though other financial information is not available on the facility's website. The five Rehabs.com survey respondents polled one the matter indicated that the center is quite affordable.

Affordability: 4.6/5

[1] GoogleReviews

[2] https://www.indeed.com/cmp/St.-Jude%27s-Recovery-Center,-Inc./reviews?fcountry=US&floc=Atlanta%2C+GA

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