This story has been updated with a statement from Lynnwood Mayor Christine Frizzell.
The Washington State Department of Health (DOH) announced Thursday it has issued a behavioral health agency license to Acadia Healthcare for an opioid treatment program (OTP) to be located near Lynnwood’s Alderwood Boys and Girls Club.
The methadone clinic, at 2322 196th St. S.W., became a hot-button issue for a group of Lynnwood residents and city councilmembers following a public hearing in December 2022.
In a statement dated Jan. 26, DOH said that the department follows “statutory requirements in its licensure process,” adding that the facility “must meet certain legal requirements to be approved.” Acadia Healthcare, which will operate the clinic, complied with all local zoning and siting regulations, DOH said.
Here’s the full statement from the DOH:
“The Department of Health has issued a behavioral health agency license for Acadia Health to operate an opioid treatment clinic in Lynnwood. The department adheres to statutory requirements in its licensure process, and the OTP must meet certain legal requirements to be approved. The OTP and the local government each have important roles to play when a clinic is being opened or relocated, thus the City of Lynnwood issued a site permit to Acadia in early March, 2022. DOH received an application for licensure in mid-October, 2022. DOH adheres to its requirements and cannot assume the responsibilities of the other parties beyond the scope of required obligations. The department recognizes that there are concerns about the specific location of the clinic, however, site approval is a role for local government, and the department has no role in that decision. The department’s role is to verify that the OTP complied with local zoning and siting regulations, and Acadia did that in this case. This clinic is moving only a short distance from its previous location, and has hundreds of existing clients, many of whom live in community near the new location and need access to continued treatment. These clients are neighbors, family members, co-workers and friends who are working to stay in recovery.”
Since the clinic location was announced, those opposed to the clinic’s location have protested or spoken at Lynnwood City Hall during meetings on Jan. 3, Jan. 11 and Jan. 17. Members of Safe Lynnwood, a group of residents and concerned parents, also organized demonstrations in front of the building on Jan. 14 and Jan. 22. Safe Lynnwood intends to hold a rally against the center at 1 p.m Sunday, Jan. 29.
Center proponents have also spoken during city council meetings, emphasizing the need for the clinic amid the growing opioid epidemic.
The Lynnwood City Council members submitted a letter to the DOH stating the council’s opposition to the project. Lynnwood Mayor Christine Frizzell also sent a letter to the DOH requesting a pause in the clinic approval process, pointing to an inadequate community relations plan for the facility.
“We believe Acadia should have implemented a more robust outreach strategy for the community which is a requirement of the licensing process,” Frizzell said in a statement released Friday afternoon. “If they had executed the required outreach plan properly, they would have had the opportunity to educate and inform the community, city officials, the police department, school district and businesses effectively. This approach would have benefited both neighboring community members who have continued to raise concerns and those who receive treatment. I strongly encourage DOH and Acadia to reevaluate their outreach processes for future sites.
“The opioid crisis continues to afflict our region, and our South Snohomish County communities have been some of the hardest hit,” Frizzell continued. “Providing equitable access to medically assisted treatment is vital in combating this crisis, and these facilities play an essential role. We truly hope that Acadia is successful in providing therapeutic treatment to those in need and that they will work to inform and partner with our community members moving forward.”
Now that it has received DOH approval, the clinic is scheduled to open Jan. 30.
— By Jasmine Contreras-Lewis
This has been a very frustrating, emotional process with missteps by those involved. Unfortunately, in my view a lot of misinformation was spread against these programs and against the medical professionals who have reiterated the effectiveness and need for this type of treatment.
My hope is that after this clinic opens, life goes on, with no real difference or impact in quality of life for residents or businesses.
The more we see “good” options in our community the better we’ll be. My cousin is an addict, and he depends on Methadone. Why should that be your problem?: If he doesn’t have access to the choice he should make, he for sure has access to the choice he shouldn’t make. The drugs are everywhere in our community. Just because you don’t see them doesn’t mean they don’t exist. In your community, wouldn’t you rather have good outcomes than bad ones? The drugs don’t go away just because you block a methadone clinic.
Nobody will notice after a couple of weeks that the clinic is there, except for the people who need it. These are real people with real lives. If you make it harder for them to come down and get clean, then you spread the problem further. There might be a B&G club nearby, but most addicts interested in getting clean are also NOT interested in corrupting young folks.
How about having those kids work in the clinic? Why hide them from the real world?
Get real. Methadone is just another addictive replacement drug for addicts at our expense. I also have a family member who is an addict and has committed crimes against their own family members. They stay on Methadone at our expense. This treatment doesn’t prevent homelessness. Keep your addicts inside your facility until they are drug free! This is no benefit for us residents in lynnwood. These addicts don’t contribute anything to society. It’s their choice to do drugs. The news is plastered everyday with their crimes and behaviors we are all affected by them already. Lynnwood doesn’t need this.
Sheri, if you knew how ignorant you sounded! You don’t know what your talking about. As usual someone who’s never had a drug problem thinks they know EVERYTHING so spewing your know it all judgements boy that makes it all much better huh? Your part of the problem period! Not all people on methadone commit crimes etc. I’m on it put myself thru college and work just like you, or do you! Lots of people work that are on methadone! If they were out n about ripen n roaring using dope etc and not on methadone well then yes they probably would be committing crimes. Believe it or not it cuts crime way down! Quit bumpen your gums and laying judgement on subjects you know squat about. Besides being so negative is UGLY!
The ignorance is strong with this one.
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