Lynnwood opioid treatment clinic opens despite community concerns
The long-discussed Lynnwood opioid treatment clinic has opened amid controversy and protests.
The center started taking clients Monday morning in a nondescript and signless building on 196th Street in Lynnwood.
Workers at the clinic and Acadia Health Care spokespeople would not discuss the clinic’s opening despite numerous efforts by KIRO Newsradio and MyNorthwest to reach them.
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Acadia runs the clinic. It replaces the operation that the company ran in Bothell.
There have been three protests led by Safe Lynnwood and organizer Vivian Dong. Dong told MyNorthwest at the most recent protest on Sunday that their demonstrations were never about the clinic itself, but about the location and lack of transparency in the process.
Given the lack of action by public officials and Acadia to address our safety concerns regarding the location, we have come up with a list of proposals for a comprehensive public safety plan.
If you are in #Lynnwood, please let us know what you think!https://t.co/1bXvRpJcif
— Safe Lynnwood (@safeLynnwood) January 30, 2023
“Now we move to the public safety aspect,” Dong said. “We want to make sure our children are safe.”
The clinic is a couple of hundred yards from the city’s Boys & Girls Club and ball fields.
Safe Lynnwood wants to make sure the clinic has adequate onsite staff, security cameras, and increased police presence. It also wants the center to establish rules and guidelines for patients.
Residents said it’s been a contentious issue since the announcement the facility would come to the area. A flier put up outside the building expresses support for the clinic, reading in part, “Those in recovery don’t deserve to feel like monsters.” It’s not clear who posted the paper.
But some parents in the community told KIRO Newsradio Reporter Sam Campbell, they’re open to the clinic’s presence.
“I understand the parents’ worry, but I also understand the need for a place like that — for access for people to receive care,” said Lisa Gregor, a mother with a young child who lives nearby.
The city had to approve the location last year, but some city council members complained of a lack of transparency in the process. Lisa Harrison, the executive assistant to the city council, wrote in an email: “The council was not made aware of the opioid treatment center until I forwarded an email from the DOH on December 12, 2022.”
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That complaint was echoed by the mayor’s office.
It issued a statement:
We believe Acadia should have implemented a more robust outreach strategy for the community which is a requirement of the licensing process. 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.”
Apparently, the city planning department approved the location but did not notify the mayor or city council.
KIRO Newsradio reporter Nicole Jennings visited the Bothell neighborhood last week to hear from neighbors in the area. The people she spoke with said the opioid treatment center did not pose a problem for the neighborhood.
Acadia did not mention the clinic on its website, but did outline its emergency services:
If you are experiencing symptoms of a mental health disorder or struggling with addiction concerns, help is available. Acadia Healthcare offers a national behavioral health helpline that provides 24/7 crisis support to anyone across the country.
When you call Acadia Healthcare’s crisis helpline toll-free at 1-833-TREATBH (873-2824), you will talk to a crisis counselor who will connect you with treatment options that can best meet your needs. While talking with the experienced hotline counselor, they might refer you to a nearby treatment center or have a first responder sent directly to your home.”