MARYSVILLE — On an unseasonably cold February morning, an outdoor heater warmed the tent crammed with tables filled with freebies like candy, snacks, Narcan and warm socks.
Ideal Option hosted the “Recovery Starts Today!” drug takeback and treatment event Friday in its Marysville clinic parking lot.
People could connect with a variety of supportive services, including housing, health insurance, medication and other therapies, and even free cell phones and service. They could also dispose of illicit substances and drug paraphernalia without fear of any legal repercussions.
Ideal Option, headquartered in Kennewick, is a national provider of outpatient, medication-assisted treatment for substance use disorders, including opioids, methamphetamines, alcohol and polysubstance. At the Marysville location, patients can access medication-assisted treatment, with Suboxone and Vivitrol, for example.
April Provost, community outreach coordinator, said these events are important to reach people who are ready for treatment, now. She relates to the experience of addiction.
“I remember how helpless and hopeless I felt, and not knowing where to go and how to get the help that I needed. And feeling very stigmatized and labeled by it,” Provost said. “I wanted to create an environment where people would have direct access to services” and “the biggest possible impact.”
Nurse practitioner Lindsey Paragin treats patients at the Marysville clinic, primarily people who are trying to recover from opiates, alcohol and methamphetamines. Watching people change their lives can be very rewarding, she said.
“Every single day that I’m here I get to witness miracles,” she said at the event Friday.
Provost said four of the approximately 30 visitors on Friday met with a provider in the clinic, and another two made appointments.
Snohomish County Health Department participated in the event because Ideal Option is a partner in responding to the opioid crisis and reducing its impact in the county. Medication-assisted treatment is a priority, based on existing research, said Dr. James Lewis, health officer for the county health department.
“People who are in treatment have huge reductions in mortality as compared to people who have never had treatment before,” Lewis said, adding that mortality is significantly reduced even for people who relapse. “This is probably the single most impactful intervention that is available.”
Opioid-related overdose deaths increased every year between 2017 to 2021 in Snohomish County, driven by fentanyl. Nearly 200 people died in 2021. Data from 2022 is not yet available.
Lewis said the county would like to see more people with opioid use disorder accessing medication-assisted treatment. The health department plans to use some of its opioid settlement money to get better data and analysis that in turn improves education and communication plans for the county.
Other participants on Friday included A1 Lifeline, Catholic Community Services, EvergreenHealth Monroe, Holman Recovery Center, Marysville Police Department, Providence Regional Medical Center Everett, Snohomish County Health Department, Sound Pathways, The Hand Up Project, MercyWatch and UnitedHealthcare. Total Rentals of Everett donated the tent, heaters and other supplies for the event.
The “holistic” services are important to providers like Ideal Option, Provost said.
“You can put people through treatment over and over and over again. But if they come out, and they’re still unhoused, and they still are unemployable, they’re just going to go right back into the same cycle,” she said.
Edmund Smith and Sophie Haines represented Holman Recovery Center, a 36-bed inpatient facility in Arlington that accepts patients for up to 28 days. Patients tend to have fentanyl, methamphetamine and alcohol use disorders.
Nearly all of Holman’s patients have Medicaid, or Apple Health, insurance. Smith, the executive director, said the word is out that patients like the treatment program, as they are frequently nearly full with a 65% to 70% completion rate.
Haines, a peer counselor and recovery monitor supervisor, said she was at the event because “it’s a great way to meet people where they’re at — literally on the street — and connect them to resources that will help them in their new life in recovery.”
Find treatment, support, data and news at snohomishoverdoseprevention.com
Joy Borkholder: 425-339-3430; email@example.com; Twitter: @jlbinvestigates.
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