Lawmaker believes Lynnwood opioid facility should open on time
Controversy over an opioid treatment facility in Lynnwood continues over its proposed location and lack of transparency about plans. On KIRO Newsradio, state representative Lauren Davis (D) told interim host Brandi Kruse she believes the project should move forward despite the issues.
Many residents in the area are upset because the facility will be located yards from a Boys and Girls Club, and there hasn’t been much information from officials about the facility and the timing of its opening.
Brandi asked about parents’ concerns that the facility will bring in drug dealers who are trying to convince patients to get back on opioids.
“These are individuals who are choosing care. So individuals are not mandated to be on methadone. They are choosing to be on methadone. They are choosing a life of recovery. They are choosing to give up heroin and fentanyl and other drugs like methamphetamine,” Davis said. “We heard from the provider that 80% of the individuals at the six-month mark are having negative urinalysis testing negative for other narcotics. That’s incredible.”
Brandi said that even more than location, transparency has been the greater issue.
Acadia Health Care will be running the new facility.
“I think it’s pretty clear that the outreach was not conducted in a timely fashion. It should have been done sooner. There should have been significantly more robust outreach. And the reason I’m so passionate about that is it doesn’t have to be this way,” Davis said. “There was a facility up in Anacortes, and I believe it’s the only facility in history where there hasn’t been a negative comment at the public hearing that’s required for citing methadone clinics. And the reason was it is tribal. And they did just this amazing job of doing outreach.”
Davis said the tribe had several community meetings, and they gathered a list of concerns. Then they made plans to address those concerns.
“They went to the rotary clubs, and they went to the safe communities. And by the time it opened, it was sort of welcomed with open arms,” Davis said. “It’s a beautiful facility. It’s operating. It’s a model of the legislature.”
Davis said she regrets that isn’t the story in Lynnwood. “There’s a significant amount of catching up to do.”
The facility is scheduled to be opened in late January at about the time the other office closes in the area. Because of that, Davis doesn’t feel the opening date should be delayed.
“Because that means that you have an entire patient population with nowhere to go,” she said. “What would then happen is you have individuals who take a daily medication not dissimilar from individuals with diabetes, who take insulin to manage their disease, who no longer have that medication. That’s hugely problematic. Those individuals could die.”
Davis said it would be “wildly inappropriate” not to provide care for those individuals.
She believes the best solution at this point is that Acadia really needs “to dig in.”
“I encourage them to have one on one meetings. I encourage them to go above and beyond,” Davis said. “This has been a rough first impression, but I’m willing to work with them to be supportive because I support them.”
Brandi Kruse is an interim host on KIRO Newsradio from 12 noon to 3 p.m.