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

The Everett Police Department was investigating a woman's death Sunday morning after a driver hit and killed her on Broadway in north Everett. (Everett Police Department)
Woman killed by suspected impaired driver in Everett

A driver reportedly hit the person, which prompted the closure of Broadway between 17th and 19th streets Sunday morning.

Everett
Everett library, fire department will have social workers on call

Many 911 calls don’t require police or fire responses. City leaders want to ensure frequent callers get the help they need.

French fries and a fried chicken sandwich are shown at a Chick-fil-A restaurant in New York in 2015. MUST CREDIT: Bloomberg photo by Michael Nagle
New Chick-fil-A restaurant coming to Everett?

An Everett Mall Way location would be the restaurant chain’s fourth Snohomish County store.

Everett
Charges: North Everett murder suspect caught on camera

Jeremiah Stringfellow, 27, is being held on first-degree murder charges for the fatal shooting of Naej Belledent, 22.

x
Meadowdale teen claims race kept her off varsity basketball team

The 15-year-old sophomore alleges that, consciously or not, a new girls basketball head coach limited players of color.

Everett resident Shon Grimes receives a flu shot from pharmacist Nisha Mathew at Bartell Drugs on Broadway on Saturday, Oct. 1, 2022, in Everett, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Already, worst flu season in years has claimed 3 in Snohomish County

Statewide, 13 people have died, including two children, from the flu this season.

Scout Skyler MacKay, 14, sits amongst only a small number of the over 600 toys he has collected for local children in foster care as part of his Eagle Scout project Thursday, Nov. 17, 2022, at his family’s home in Lynnwood, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Teen Santa: Scout brings toys and joy to foster kids, like he was

Skyler MacKay, 14, of Lynnwood is collecting 1,000 toys for his Eagle Scout project. Toys will be given year-round.

Daily Herald food, drink and restaurant reporter Taylor Goebel.
Our food writer bids farewell

Taylor Goebel shares news of her departure, as well as her favorite moments as The Herald’s food & drink reporter.

This screenshot shows the Snohomish County Sheriff's Office's new crime dashboard released to the public last week. It tracks crime trends over the last few years.
Sheriff’s new database gives window into Snohomish County crime rates

Homicides are up compared to 2021. Some other violent crimes and property crimes are down, data released last week shows.

Most Read