Drug treatment van to remain on Ambaum Blvd. SW at SW 134th


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MathadoneVan1

MethadoneVan2

by Jack Mayne

That van than many noticed and wondered what it was doing parked on Ambaum Blvd. SW near SW 134th weekday mornings is a place where people with opioid drug dependence must visit six days a week, and it is likely to be there for the foreseeable future, says Molly Carney, executive director at Evergreen Treatment Services.

The van is the place where upwards of 300 people have to visit six days each week to be dosed with methadone to treat their dependence on heroin and other opioida.

The Burien location is in addition to Evergreen’s main facilities on Airport Way.

“Evergreen Treatment Services has been in existence for 40 years,” Carney said. “We are a private, non-profit organization and our main specialty is helping adults who (need) medication-assisted treatment for opioid dependence.

“If someone has an issue with opioids – which can include heroin as well as prescription pills – they will call us and we will assess the extent of the problem in their lives and then they will meet with a medical provider and will get formally diagnosed a presumably having an opioid depending problem,” Carney said. “Part of their admission process is to engage with a medical provider who makes a formal medical diagnosis of them.

Highly regulated treatment
“What we do is very tightly regulated and it is also one of the most scientifically based treatments for people with addictions that is in existence,” Carney said. “There probably have been more studies on medication-assisted treatments for opioid dependence than practically any other type of substance abuse treatment. What we do is very tightly controlled and regulated from the feds, down to the state, down to the city and county. We have to be very careful about what we do and make sure that a problem exists and the medication is being used safely.”

Carney said that when people are admitted to treatment, they must come to Evergreen Treatment facilities six days a week for their medication.

“We follow them very closely to make sure they are being safely medicated and that they are engaging in the other services that we require of them, like counseling, urine drug screens and visits with a medical provider. So the treatment that we offer is really pretty intensive and, for folks who live a long way from a clinic, that can be very challenging.

“The van was originally funded through a federal grant as a way to offer our services to people who didn’t have easy access to our buildings. That is exactly why we are over in Burien at this point in time.

“We have about 300 patients at our Airport Way clinic who are traveling from the south end of King County six days a week to get their medication.”

Carney said that when Navos, a Burien organization that works with people with mental illness in King County, offered to help by locating the van on its main campus, it was seen as a way to help Evergreen keep their many patients living in Burien and nearby engaged in six-day a week required treatment.

Big need for services
“There is a tremendous need for our services right now and there are not enough treatment slots to serve them. The system is really stressed to meet the need out there. We see ourselves as being able to help with things like crime rates, expensive hospital visits and police calls as all those sort of things by getting people in treatment,” Carney said.

The van in Burien near the old Donatelli’s Market is parked the rest of the time at their headquarter on Airport Way but she hopes the location can remain at the Ambaum site for a long time. Evergreen treats patients only at its Airport Way facility, at the Ambaum van location and at a clinic in Olympia. They are in the process of opening a clinic also in the Hoquiam area and also hope to open a clinic the far south King County.

Patients are at the van each day for “literally about five minutes and then they are on their way,” she said.

They don’t dispense pills or inject the medicine, she said.

“The main medication that we use is methadone and it is a liquid that gets diluted with lemonade. They drink it in front of a dispensing nurse so, again we are very tightly controlled, we have to be. The patient comes in and has a quick assessment by the dispensing nurse about whether they are OK for their medication that day. The nurse watches them drink it. The patient has to speak so that we know that they have injected it, they throw out the little cup and then they are on their way.”

Carney said it is a common public misperception that the medicine can be removed from the premises and perhaps sold or stored up.

‘Weird’ addiction
She said opioid addiction is “kind of weird” compared with other dependencies “because it changes a person’s body really drastically. What happens is that your body starts looking for more and more of the drug and the way it looks for that drug often does not recover when people stop using the drug. You can be dependent on alcohol but once you stop using it, your body can recover physiologically. Opioid is much more tenacious on the body. A lot of people have this problem for a very long period of time, which is why the medications are really helpful. Some people are on these medications potentially for the rest of their lives, just like a diabetic is on insulin or somebody on hypertension is on a hypertension drug.

The majority of Evergreen’s patients are publicly funded so they serve a lot of Medicaid patients, a lot of low-income patients and some with private insurance.

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Comments

26 Responses to “Drug treatment van to remain on Ambaum Blvd. SW at SW 134th”
  1. Just say yes! says:

    If they open a marijuana dispensary in the abandoned building next to the van, Burien could become a one stop shopping destination for every druggie in the south end. SWEET!

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  2. Katja Kloepfer says:

    From a fruit and veggie store to THAT? If Navos wanted to help they would have given them a safe space in their huge new facility next door. For me as a neighbor I will fight that van, although I realize they need a place to go to, but just don’t make it a nasty trailer. I am not prepared to deal with the influx of addicted people walking my street and leaving a lot more trash!

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  3. Cynthia says:

    Thanks for bringing your great work to Burien, Evergreen! You’re helping to keep our town safer!

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 19 Thumb down 16

    • resident says:

      How are they keeping things safer by luring heroin junkies to our neighborhoods?

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      • kpr says:

        Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see.

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  4. Concerned says:

    I drive by the airport way methadone clinic and it is not a pretty sight!! Yes there are people who work and need methadone but then there are the methadone “zombies” who use their dose to get high while taking other pills. They literally walk around in a zombie like state and they all just come out of no where. These people are not even aware what’s going on around them. They will just stand at the crosswalk and when it’s their turn and I have to stop, they just stand there and you have to honk to get them to go. After they’re done they continue to loiter around the area. I DO NOT WANT TO SEE THIS HAPPEN IN BURIEN. It’s only a matter of time before the ZOMBIES INVADE. PLEASE FIGHT THIS TRUCK!!!!!

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  5. Carrie says:

    I’m far more concerned with the number of intolerant and judgemental residents in Burien than where people who admittedly have substance abuse issues are seeking treatment. I’d say shame on you, but I doubt if any of you have the conscience it would require.

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    • resident says:

      Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see.

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      • kpr says:

        Its not free u moron. you have to pay for it or your health insurance does. There are a lot of ignorant people commenting.

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  6. jimmy says:

    Well this one is a tricky subject because its great these people are getting help with out help. Some of these people would be out shooting up their heroin or taking pills in parks and robbing pharmacy and clinics for more. Then breaking into your houses or cars and other things to steal and sell stuff for there addiction. So it is a good thing thee people are getting it just looks bad and tough situation also you can’t go blaming all the crime in burien on these people alone since they are being watch and getting there medicine they don’t have to go out try make money to fight there problem its the people that are not getting help that you should be worry about . There the ones you have keep a eye out for

    p.s. most people that enjoy cannabis do not use hardcore drugs like opioids and if they do take opioid pain meds it use correctly and prescribe by a doctor or dentists and use for a very short time

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    • Name (required) says:

      It looks more like other communities are using Burien as a dumping ground, AGAIN.

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  7. Katja Kloepfer says:

    I am all for helping drug addicts but not in a van in a parking lot, get them into Navos, so they don’t loiter on my street corner and deposit their Steel Reserve Cans into my yard.

    Also, for everybody that wants to do something about it:
    The parking is leased by Navos but the property still belongs to:

    PUWP LLC, PO Box 47088, Seattle, WA 98116 write to them and talk to the city officials
    and Evergreen Treatment Centers at 206-223-3644

    I am sure they have no permits to do this kind of thing in a residential neighborhood!

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    • Name (required) says:

      Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see.

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    • jimmy says:

      Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see.

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    • Evergreen Patient says:

      Except they DO! Besides, the van in not in the residential street. It is actually located on private property. And WE (patients) dont loiter there. We come, get our medication and leave. Check your facts before labeling anyone. Also, are you sure those cans were not yours? Think about it…
      We need this van here. It is great thing that we have that access to our treatment program. Without it many of us wold end up in jails or on the streets. It is my life saver! Also the van is very clean. The staff there (driver and the security staff) keeping the area clean and neat. They even pay for the portable toilet so we (filthy drug addicts) dont go to YOUR back yard when nature calls. :)
      Sincerely yours
      Evergreen “Ever Grateful” Client.

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  8. Evergreen Patient says:

    Wow it is scary to see how many of our “good citizens” are simple selfish and careless humans. All they worry is their own good and benefits without taking anyone else in consideration.
    Evergreen, please continue doing you great work! Our community thanking your for being there for us when we need it the most. And to all you haters: you lucky that THS did not move into your hood. :)) EVERGREEN is the best treatment clinic in the state!

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  9. Sara says:

    A quick correction and links to more info for those of you who want / need to educate yourselves on opioid dependence and medication-assisted treatment:

    The number of people that are served at the mobile unit daily is max 175, average 115 (not everyone gets their medication from the mobile unit every day). The 300 quoted above was the TOTAL number of patients from South King County served by both the mobile unit and the Airport Way facility.

    More information about this condition can be found at The Partnership at DrugFree.Org (http://www.drugfree.org/newsroom/medication-assisted-treatment-resource), the Alcohol and Drug Abuse Institute at UW (www.adai.uw.edu), SAMHSA (http://www.samhsa.gov/), et al.

    Please be part of the solution. Opioid dependence is a medical condition, not a moral deficiency. Many become dependent by taking painkillers prescribed to them by a doctor. Many are young teenagers. All are people who deserve a better life than their addiction is allowing them to live. This organization is working daily, tirelessly to provide people the support they need at a time when they need it most.

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  10. Loren says:

    Another alternative is 12 step programs. Burien is very fortunate to have a thriving 12 step community where many, many alcoholics and drug addicts are staying clean and sober by applying spiritual principles and meeting together in community to help each other.
    It is often the last resort because of public misconceptions about it, but the 12 steps and meetings are very effective for those who put in even half the effort they put into staying drunk or high.

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  11. local resident says:

    It is great when there is a local place for people to access their needed treatment, That said, I think the people receiving the treatment and the neighborhood deserve to have it not look like a back alley. Navos has a large attractive site with their new building and lots of parking. The van could be there, the port a pot could be less conspicuous (that is if security or other reasons don’t make it possible to have the NAVOS indoor facility itself available.) The current site is fine temporarily but it is not good as it is configured for the long haul. Aren’t there working toilets in the Donatella building with running water for proper hygiene? The average person doesn’t know what the van is there for, and it looks like an illegal operation trying to stay ‘normal’ but out of site.

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    • resident says:

      They need to park that next to city hall not next to my neighborhood

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  12. othersideofthetracks says:

    Amazing, you have these goof stories in here with happy endings like the disadvantaged teen who was missing and found safe and returned home, police busting a theft ring and recovering stolen property, meals on wheels etc and how many comments do those stories have,. ZERO.
    But this one, wow people,

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  13. resident says:

    This explains all the junkies running up and down my street, This also explains the sudden jump in crime in my neighborhood. You owe me a pressure washer……….

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    • jimmy says:

      wow and you think making a bunch random trolling posts is going do anything but make you look like a moron . I suggest you invest in some security cameras and get proof that its these people stealing from you because there has been thief’s in burien for a lot longer than that van has been there and invest in some locks and don’t leave items unattended out in your yard or in your car over night for extend amounts time this not the city of may-berry things can and will usually walk away in any neighborhood

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