LYNNWOOD, WASH - A methadone clinic is now open in Lynnwood after the Department of Health approved its license despite a pushback from residents and city officials.
For weeks, protesters have objected to the opening of the clinic owned by Acadia Health Care on 196th Street SW-- mostly because the clinic is located within close proximity to Little League fields and the Alderwood Boys and Girls Club.
According to the Acadia Health website, the treatment clinic helps people in recovery by providing effective medications and counseling services.
In Everett, there has been a similar clinic in the community since 2016, and businesses told FOX 13 that there is a cause for concern.
Rite Aid employees say they're irritated and overwhelmed, constantly having to look over their shoulders.
One employee said they've had to replace their windows seven times in the last year, costing them at least $15,000.
They blame it on the methadone clinic down the street.
They say patients from the opioid clinic have shot their windows, they fight inside the store and steal, walking out with things stuffed in their socks, jackets or backpacks.
Barber Sean Gandy says his business has also seen firsthand what can happen when an opioid clinic opens nearby.
"It's just the wild, wild west," Gandy said.
His business sits about 800 feet away from the methadone clinic in Everett.
"They're looking for a handout. They’re not looking forward to frequent the business for what it is," Gandy said.
Gandy said he's seen an increase in theft and even shootings in the area since the clinic opened.
"The drug trafficking, and the vandalism on the building, the breaking into," Gandy describes.
Andrew Feisley, a patient at the clinic in Everett for the last five years, disagrees. He is one of many who comes in six days a week and says his story proves that clinics like these are absolutely necessary.
"I have a lot of friends that it's been beneficial. It's kept them out of prison, it’s got them back into their normal life," Feisley said of the clinic.
Feisley feels clinics like these can help people change, but those living nearby feel that it's also changing something else: their community.
With the recent opening of a new clinic in Lynnwood, they have a warning for residents about the potential risks it could bring.
"The traffic can drift to the Boys and Girls Club just like it does from there to here," Gandy said.
Feisley, a father, says there are always concerns when kids are involved.
"Whether there are negatives that come with it, the back end of it is way worse if it's not there," Feisely said. "Without a methadone clinic, it'd be illicit drug use and other stuff going and it’ll probably save them from the other things going on, so it's probably a lot better than having no outlet," Feisley said.
Property management for the businesses have hired security, which several of them say has helped decrease crime.
However, their hope is Lynnwood’s clinic location will lead to a change in where opioid treatment centers are placed.