Possible second methadone clinic in Everett under discussion; residents react

EVERETT — Cate Harrington and Jessica Cupcake spend hours every weekend clearing drug needles from the streets of Everett. The two women say they feel conflicted over the idea to possibly create a second methadone clinic within city limits.

“I’m kinda torn whether it will actually be effective or not,’’ says Cupcake.

“The downside to it is a lot of people are addicts and some people want more, some don’t want it. Some would rather get their dose and then sell it and then have money for what they really want,” says Harrington.

According to a spokesperson for the city of Everett, a second methadone clinic is only an idea being discussed, but could balance out the demand in the northern part of the city. The city says no actual addresses are being tossed around right now, but if the idea moves forward, the current city code, which only permits one methadone clinic within city limits, would need to be changed.

The city says the current clinic, located near Evergreen Way in South Everett, and run by Therapeutic Health Services, is at capacity; currently serving 850 clients, with 200 more on a waiting list.

Longtime North Everett resident Sharita Burton has been researching how it could affect her neighborhood.

“I have looked around their facility. I have talked to their executive director and I have listened and asked questions about their program. I support what they do, they look like they are great neighbors. They are in a business district and you would never know that they were there if you didn’t know that they were there,” says Burton.

Representatives from the Downtown Everett Association provided a copy of a letter they sent to the city planning commission, which reads in part:

“…While we appreciate the urgency and need to provide support to the 100 – 200 people currently waitlisted to receive services for opiate addiction, we also think the decision on where and how to provide such services deserves more community education and involvement…”

“I really feel like the funding would be better placed with an abstinence treatment center or a detoxification unit,” says Lindsey Greinke, of Hope Soldiers, a nonprofit that helps those addicted to drugs transition into recovery. “It really gives people a disservice because then they don’t qualify for most sober living, because of the behavior associated with methadone, because it is an opiate."

Robert Smiley of TheHandUpProject.org has similar concerns, saying, “It just needs more supervision. I think it could be useful.”

Differing ideas and opinions from a group of neighbors taking action with the same goal in mind -- a safe community.

“We have to do something to help our neighbors that are afflicted with this addiction and it’s a huge epidemic,” says Burton.

The city says the planning commission will hold a regular meeting Tuesday, during which time, they will talk about whether they want to continue to consider the idea of a possible second methadone clinic and the necessary code changes those talks would require.