16-bed detox facility to open in Lynnwood in May

LYNNWOOD — A 16-bed detox center for adults seeking help with drug and alcohol addiction is scheduled to open here in May.

The $3.1 million center will be the second location in Snohomish County where adults on Medicaid can get detox services. It also will treat patients who have insurance with high deductibles or whose insurance has refused to cover the treatment.

The detox center will be operated by Evergreen Recovery Centers, formerly known as Evergreen Manor, which has a similar detox facility in Everett.

“We end up with people whose insurance denies it, but they need it,” said Linda Grant, the organization’s chief executive officer. “We try not to turn anyone away. It’s the only place that low-income people can go.”

The Lynnwood center will have a staff of 22 people, including 12 nurses and two counselors, she said.

Evergreen purchased a 5,000-square-foot building at 20508 56th Ave. W and has budgeted $1.3 million for remodeling it, she said.

“We’re in construction now,” Grant said.

Most of the patients are expected to need treatment for opioid problems, those addicted to either prescription pain medications or heroin. At the Everett detox center, more than 70 percent of admissions are for opioids, Grant said. “It used to be 70 percent for alcohol.”

The Lynnwood facility will have seven beds for women and nine for men. Most of those admitted for treatment are expected to be between the ages of 18 and 30. Typical patient stays would be between five and eight days, she said.

Lynnwood Mayor Nicola Smith said the city is delighted Evergreen chose to open a center in south Snohomish County. “We’re looking forward to them opening and serving any community member who wants that service,” she said.

Smith joined city staff and City Council members on a tour of Evergreen’s detox center in Everett. “We were so impressed with their facility,” she said. “It eased a lot of concern any of us may have had about it.”

There’s been no opposition to the project from city residents, she said.

An open house for the public to tour the detox facility will be scheduled prior to its opening, Grant said.

Evergreen has planned to open a detox facility in south Snohomish County for about three years. The demand for help far exceeds what the organization can offer.

The Everett facility is able to admit three to four patients a day, but gets 12 to 15 calls daily from people seeking help, Grant said.

Statewide, heroin killed 293 people in 2014, about twice as many as in 2008, according to the state Department of Health.

In Snohomish County, 88 people died from overdoses of heroin or opioids, according to preliminary 2015 data.

In addition to Evergreen’s 16 beds opening in May, a new behavioral health hospital is scheduled to open next year at Smokey Point. Addiction treatment programs are among the services it will offer.

Even with these additions, “it’s not enough,” said Lindsey Greinke, founder and president of Hope Soldiers, an Everett nonprofit that helps people struggling with addiction.

“The issue is the county, state and this country was not prepared for heroin to take over the way it did,” she said. The surge in addiction began about a decade ago with prescription pain killers and in more recent years changed to heroin, she said.

“The reason why it’s called an epidemic is it literally hit so many people all at once out of nowhere,” she said.

There’s still a huge stigma against people who struggle with homelessness, addiction and mental health disorders, she said.

People don’t understand the root issues behind addiction, Greinke said. “It is a medical condition,” she said. “It is treatable, but it is lifelong.”

Sharon Salyer: 425-339-3486; salyer@heraldnet.com.

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