WA Dept. of Health approves license for controversial Lynnwood opioid clinic

The Washington State Department of Health on Thursday approved the license for a controversial opioid treatment facility in Lynnwood.

The DOH issued a behavioral health agency license for Acadia Health to operate the treatment clinic, which opens Jan. 30. Locals were up in arms over the clinic, citing issues of transparency, its location and safety concerns, as the proposed site sits in a residential area and near the Alderwood Boys & Girls Club.

"The department recognizes that there are concerns about the specific location of the clinic, however, site approval is a role for local government, and the department has no role in that decision," reads a statement from the DOH. "The department’s role is to verify that the OTP complied with local zoning and siting regulations, and Acadia did that in this case."

Lynnwood Mayor Christine Frizzell issued the following statement after the DOH approval:

"This afternoon, the Washington State Department of Health informed the City of Lynnwood that they had issued the Opioid Treatment Program license for Acadia Health to operate an opioid treatment clinic in Lynnwood."

"We believe Acadia should have implemented a more robust outreach strategy for the community which is a requirement of the licensing process. If they had executed the required outreach plan properly, they would have had the opportunity to educate and inform the community, City Officials, the police department, school district and businesses effectively. This approach would have benefited both neighboring community members who have continued to raise concerns and those who receive treatment. I strongly encourage DOH and Acadia to reevaluate their outreach processes for future sites.  "

"The opioid crisis continues to afflict our region, and our south Snohomish County communities have been some of the hardest hit. Providing equitable access to medically assisted treatment is vital in combating this crisis, and these facilities play an essential role. We truly hope that Acadia is successful in providing therapeutic treatment to those in need and that they will work to inform and partner with our community members moving forward."

According to the agency, the treatment clinic is moving only a short distance from its previous location, and has hundreds of clients who live by the new location.

READ MORE: Opening for opioid clinic in Lynnwood delayed as protests against it continue

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The clinic was originally going to open Jan. 23, but was pushed back a week. Community members are upset they never had a say in the clinic's location, which DOH says was approved by the City of Lynnwood back in March 2022.