New Everett Program for Opioid Affected Mothers and Infants

SHARE NOW

In its 50th year of providing services to persons with alcohol and other substance use disorders, Evergreen Recovery Centers was joined by Governor Jay Inslee to celebrate the completion of a new facility on its original campus on Summit Avenue in Everett, WA. The organization purchased a small house on Summit Avenue in 1973 to serve homeless people beginning recovery through self-help groups. From this humble start Evergreen Recovery Centers has grown to operate residential, outpatient and outreach programs to serve over 7,000 individuals annually in Snohomish, Skagit, King and Pierce Counties.

In addition to Washington State Governor Jay Inslee, notable attendees included:

  • Dave Somers, Snohomish County Executive
  • Congressman Rick Larsen (WA-02) – remotely
  • Katrina White, President, Employees Community Fund of Boeing Puget Sound Chapter
  • Margaret Rojas, Asst. Director, North Sound Behavioral Health Administrative Services Organization
  • Staff from WA State Sen. Maria Cantwell and WA State Sen. Patty Murray
  • Sen. Manka Dhingra, 45th Legislative District and candidate for WA State Attorney General
  • Sue Birch, Director, WA State Health Care Authority
  • Michael Langer, Deputy Division Director, Behavioral Health and Recovery, WA State Health Care Authority
  • WA Department of Commerce management
  • Bob Newton, former Seahawk and Chicago Bear who now is a chemical dependency counselor and NFL consultant and lecturer on substance use disorders.
  • Representative of State Medicaid Managed Care Health Plans
  • WA Department of Children, Youth and Families

The new facility across the street from the original campus will expand in its mothers’ program by adding 18 larger living units, three additional childcare classrooms and the State’s first pediatric transitional care facility collocated with a substance use disorder residential treatment program with capacity to treat five mother-infant dyads upon release from the hospital. With the increase in prescriptions of methadone medication under the surge in fentanyl use disorders, more infants are experiencing NOWS, with neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) hospital stays accounting for a much larger share of NICU admissions.

Washington State Department of Health data report that drug exposure before birth now exceeds 11 babies per 1,000 births. The withdrawal period in infants can last six weeks or more—a long time for mother and child to be separated. Many of Evergreen’s mothers come in during pregnancy, go to the hospital for delivery during their stay in treatment, and are discharged back to complete the six-month program. Too often the NOWS infant is sent to a pediatric facility two hours away from Everett where mothers have little to no contact for weeks. Pediatric best practice for neonatal opiate withdrawal syndrome (NOWS) is Eat, Sleep, Console, a new model involving close skin to skin contact between infant and mother and breast feeding as a central component of comfort and relief of the infant and relate to better long-term health and psychological outcomes of both mother and child.

“Pediatric Transitional Care capacity was a priority in our design as it has so many immediate and long-term benefits to the mother as well as the child as well as freeing up crowded NICU’s,” said Linda Grant, CEO of Evergreen Recovery Centers. “We are excited to move our mothers’ program into the new facility before the holidays and plan to open the pediatric unit a few months later. The existing campus will be converted to a women’s residential treatment center we will call the Crosby Center, after Walt Crosby, an early executive director who had a vision for growth. Mr. Crosby, a proud Cowlitz Tribal member, died in August 2023 and the original facility he built will be named after him.”

“The drug use crisis is impacting families and communities across Snohomish County. There is no denying that we need more treatment facilities to make an impact on this crisis and ensure people can access the care they need,” said Snohomish County Executive Dave Somers. “Evergreen Recovery Centers is serving a critical population and providing the kind of wraparound support that will help ensure these mothers and their young children can recover and thrive. Snohomish County is proud to support this vital facility, and we know it will nurture families and the broader community for generations to come.”

The new Family Services Center was built by Kirtley-Cole Construction and Bushnaq Studio Architecture + Design. Primary awards and funds were received from:

  • State of Washington: 2019 allocation sponsored by Sen. John McCoy and Rep. June Robinson

o             2022 allocation sponsored by Sen. June Robinson and Rep. Emily Wicks

o             2022 Early Learning Facility Grant

  • Snohomish County American Rescue Plan Act Funds
  • Employees Community Fund of Boeing Puget Sound
  • North Sound Behavioral Health Administrative Services Organization
  • Evergreen Recovery Centers, and financing from Coastal Community Bank

In the 2023 Legislative Session Evergreen Recovery Centers received a $13 million allocation to create on this same campus a housing program with integrated services to preserve families as they begin recovery and completed treatment for substance use disorders. The program will be modeled after Rising Strong, a Catholic Charities and will make outpatient treatment with housing available to whole families as well as to single parent males. The Department of Children Youth and Families will oversee the project that was a Governor’s request in his 2023 Capital budget and key legislative sponsors were Rep. Lisa Callan (Issaquah) and Sen. Rebecca Saldaña (Seattle). The old Strata building and a small house on Everett Avenue will be demolished to make way for a new facility that will be designed in the coming year. The new construction should be completed and ready for occupancy by late 2025. The new classrooms will provide space for additional daycare attendees.