Access to a critical component of addiction recovery for Whidbey Island residents has been inconsistent at best.
Early next month, a new program will launch out of the North Whidbey Family Resource Center on 1st Avenue in Oak Harbor. Lifeline Connections will run a “rapid response clinic” Wednesday afternoons from 12:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. starting Feb. 5 that will provide same-day access to medications that can aid in opioid or alcohol addiction recovery.
“When people are ready to seek treatment, it’s important to take advantage of that window,” Lifeline Marketing Supervisor Shannon Edgel said.
A nurse care manager will staff the clinic and a prescriber will speak to patients via a telemedicine program, Edgel said. Peer mentors — people who have experienced addition and been trained to mentor others in recovery — will also be available at times. The program is funded through a Substance Abuse and Mental Health grant.
The grant is aimed at providing medication assisted treatment — known as MAT — in under-served rural areas, according to Linda Crothers, a project director at the North Sound Behavioral Health Administrative Services Organization.
In December, Sea Mar Behavioral Health also began offering the service in partnership with WhidbeyHealth.
The medication helps reduce withdrawal symptoms and cravings to aid addiction recovery. The clinic will be able to provide Suboxone and Vivitrol, Edgel said, the latter of which is effective with alcohol withdrawals as well as opioid.
“This is just one foot in the door to begin to bring stability to people,” Crothers said.
The clinic’s location should also serve as a benefit, according to Edgel, because the building also houses the county public health needle exchange program and the Opportunity Council, a nonprofit that helps homeless and low-income individuals with housing, education, child care, and financial and job training. The county’s opioid outreach team will also soon start referrals.
The new clinic will take all insurances and state Apple Health, Edgel said.
- North Whidbey Family Resource Center is at 1791 NE 1st Ave. #2, Oak Harbor. The clinic will be open 2:30-3:30 p.m., Wednesdays starting Feb. 3.
- Sea Mar Behavioral Health is open Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., at 31640 Highway 20, Suite 1, Oak Harbor.