Former addict starts group to help others into recovery

MILL CREEK — Lindsey Greinke has found her calling.

After an unyielding battle against her own drug addiction, the 24-year-old Everett native wants to fight the disease in her community.

Since her days of popping pills and smoking heroin, Greinke said, she has had three friends from Mill Creek’s Henry M. Jackson High School die from drug overdoses.

She’s now helping her fellow addicts achieve sobriety through her new nonprofit organization, Hope Soldiers.

“My heart is on fire to help people with addiction because I struggled,” Greinke said. “I want to infect people with knowledge before it gets them.”

Greinke’s road to recovery wasn’t smooth. At age 16, she was using every day.

“I felt like I didn’t belong anywhere,” she said.

Despite her fairly affluent, middle-class upbringing, her drug use soon led to her couch surfing and bouncing between homeless youth facilities and juvenile detention centers.

At a drug den in Bothell, she was turned on to smoking OxyContin, a potent painkiller. Unable to support her $300 a week habit, she turned to heroin, a cheaper and more readily available opiate alternative.

“It’ll take anyone,” Greinke said. “The first time I tried it, I was addicted immediately. As soon as the high wore off, I started to get sick.”

Greinke’s story is not uncommon.

Tara Barnard, regional manager for Catholic Community Services Recovery Centers, said users of OxyContin, also called oxycodone, often turn to heroin.

“It’s very prevalent in the younger populations,” she said. “We need to address that emptiness youth feel.”

Each week, Barnard said, she sees nearly 100 people under 18 in need of treatment in the Everett and Marysville centers.

The Snohomish County Human Services Department pulled statistics on publicly funded chemical dependency clients from a statewide database. In December 2012, 61 percent of adult drug users in Snohomish County reported some kind of opiate addiction, compared to 53 percent statewide. Those numbers increased in December 2013 to 62 percent and 56 percent respectively. More than half said they started using before age 18.

When Greinke sought help, she had no health insurance or money. Without resources, she almost gave up in the month it took her to find treatment.

Now, after almost 3 years of sobriety, she wants to ease the process for others.

“I’m living proof that you can recover from drug addiction,” Greinke said.

Today, Greinke works for Microsoft as a business administrator and is taking college courses. She is able to be a mother to her 4-year-old son.

Through Hope Soldiers, Greinke steers addicts toward treatment. She sees to it they find jobs and sober living situations. The nonprofit helps find health insurance. It also helps cover the cost of medications for co-occurring disorders, such as depression, bipolar disorder, anxiety and post-traumatic stress syndrome.

Greinke also supports parents who are struggling with their children.

“I don’t think kids should have to be afraid to ask for help,” Greinke said. “That’s why they’re dying.”

Hope Soldiers has scheduled a forum from 6 to 8 tonight in the commons at Jackson High School.

Motivational speaker Trent Shelton, of RehabTime, is scheduled to speak.

Snohomish Regional Drug and Gang Task Force Commander Pat Slack also will be there to answer questions.

“Everybody needs to be involved with the solution,” Slack said. “We can’t arrest our way out of it.”

He wishes more people would seek treatment instead of finding themselves in court.

Slack said the task force is seeing heroin use affect an increasing number younger people, regardless of their neighborhood.

“The disease of addiction isn’t picky,” Greinke said. “ Nobody is exempt. It could happen to anybody.”

Amy Nile: 425-339-3192; anile@heraldnet.com.

Talk to us

More in Local News

Crews will reduce lanes and eventually close northbound Interstate 5 between Everett and Marysville this week to work on a bridge overpass girder. (Washington State Department of Transportation)
Overnight lane closures, I-5 detour set between Everett, Marysville

Crews need to replace a girder on the 12th Street NE bridge that was damaged by an overheight load in September 2021.

Mike Rosen
Businessman Mike Rosen announces campaign for mayor of Edmonds

Rosen, a city planning board member, is backed by five former Edmonds mayors. It’s unclear if incumbent Mike Nelson will run again.

FILE - A Boeing 747-8, Boeing's new passenger plane, takes its first flight, Sunday, March 20, 2011, at Paine Field in Everett, Wash. After more than half a century, Boeing is rolling its last 747 out of a Washington state factory on Tuesday night. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren, File)
Boeing’s last 747 to roll off the Everett assembly line

The Queen of the Skies was dethroned by smaller, more fuel-efficient jets. The last 747s were built for a cargo carrier.

PUD workers install new transformers along 132nd Street on Tuesday, Oct. 25, 2022 in Mill Creek, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Electric vehicles spur big forecast jump for PUD demand

Not long ago, the Snohomish County PUD projected 50,000 electric cars registered in the county by 2040. Now it expects up to 660,000.

Traffic moves northbound on I-5 through Everett on Friday, Dec. 2, 2022. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Grinding work still needed for I-5 through Everett

Construction crews need warmer temps for the work to remove what a reader described as “mini raised speed bumps.”

After a day of learning to fight fires, Snohomish firefighter recruit Chau Nguyen flakes a hose as other recruits load the hoses onto a fire truck April 19, 2018, at the training facility on S. Machias Rd. in Snohomish. (Andy Bronson / Herald file)
Lawsuit: Everett firefighter sexually harassed numerous recruits

Chau Nguyen resigned earlier this year, long after the first complaint about his behavior at the county’s fire training academy.

People work on the roof of the Stilly Valley Senior Center on Thursday, Dec. 8, 2022 in Arlington, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Seniors evacuated from Stilly Valley Center housing due to roof damage

Residents said water damage issues began years ago. Mid-winter repairs forced them into hotels.

FILE - In this photo taken Oct. 2, 2018, semi-automatic rifles fill a wall at a gun shop in Lynnwood, Wash. Gov. Jay Inslee is joining state Attorney General Bob Ferguson to propose limits to magazine capacity and a ban on the sale of assault weapons. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson, File)
Trade in an unloaded gun for a loaded gift card in Mukilteo, Everett

Mukiteo’s Gun Buyback is Saturday. Everett has $25,000 to give out at its exchange Dec. 17.

Logo for news use featuring the municipality of Darrington in Snohomish County, Washington. 220118
Sauk-Suiattle Tribe alleges state unfairly charges online sales tax

Tribal members on the reservation are charged state taxes despite a federal exemption. The tribe says it’s a sovereignty issue.

Most Read