Lynnwood mayor ‘appalled’ at lack of transparency around new opioid clinic
Lynnwood’s mayor expressed outrage over the way the location of a proposed methadone clinic was revealed. Mayor Christine Frizzell told Tuesday night’s city council meeting she had no prior knowledge the site for the facility would be around the corner from a Boys & Girls Club.
Protesters gathered at the potential site Saturday, Jan. 15, to voice their concerns, fearing that if the facility does become a reality, safety will be a big issue — especially with its proximity to so many youth-oriented locations.
At the Lynnwood City Council meeting Monday, the overall history of Acadia Healthcare, the company that is operating the facility, and how it has allegedly treated patients in the past was a big point of contention for many of the opponents of the facility.
Acadia Healthcare has met all the requirements to run the clinic and has committed to taking security measures to minimize problems in the neighborhood. Still, council members want time to consider other potential sites where this facility could operate.
“I’d like to see the governor and state legislature stop this for now,” said Lynnwood City Councilmember Jim Smith. “Put it on pause, let us figure out what we can do again to come up with a situation that people on drugs can be helped and the city, [so] the community is not hurt.”
Frizzell said before the state agrees to build anything in her community, she wants a more transparent process for everyone. State law currently does not require leaders of a community to be informed about the site — but county and school officials were told.
“I’m appalled at the insinuations that have questioned and targeted me and my integrity. I want to reiterate that the first I learned about the proposed opioid treatment facility coming to Lynnwood was through a public hearing announcement and article posted in a local newspaper,” Frizzell said.
Frizzell has sent a strongly-worded letter to Governor Jay Inslee and the director of the state Department of Health requesting a halt to the clinic’s approval process — until their selection methodology is revised.
The mayor and most council members say they’re not against the idea of helping people who are addicted — but the process needs to be more thoughtful and transparent.
The facility is expected to provide methadone for hundreds of patients every day.
The opioid treatment facility is currently slated to open Jan. 30. Supporters have said its services are desperately needed in the area, especially given the skyrocketing number of fatal drug overdoses.