An addiction treatment clinic in Kelso, Washington has been increasingly treating patients with substance use disorders.
The new facility, called Kelso Treatment Solutions, opened in February and specializes in outpatient opioid addiction services. It is the first methadone clinic in Cowlitz County but it offers other medication-assisted treatment options, including suboxone. Supplemental counseling sessions, including individual and group therapy, are also available for patients in addiction recovery.
Kelso Treatment Solutions represents one of nearly 600 treatment locations in the U.S. and the U.K. belonging to Acadia Healthcare, which also runs five additional addiction treatment clinics in the state, including in Tacoma.
Plans for the state to open the clinic began in 2016. However, it took almost two years for all regulations, including obtaining permits from federal and state agencies, to be met. Prior to its opening, the Washington Department of Social and Health Services had to transport patients to a clinic located 45 minutes south in Vancouver, Washington.
While the clinic was under development, clinic officials were met with concerns and protests from community members regarding its prominent downtown location.
During a public meeting in December, city councilpersons and local residents argued that the methadone clinic would have been more appropriate located out of town because of how it could affect businesses downtown and its family-friendly atmosphere. Acadia remodeled the site of an office building, which is in sight of restaurants and a movie theater, for more than $750,000.
To help alleviate community concerns, the clinic operates from 5-11 a.m. Monday to Friday and 6-9 a.m. on Saturdays. The clinic decided upon these hours as a means not to inconvenience nearby downtown businesses.
In the four months the clinic has been open, Kelso officials have not received any negative feedback from the neighborhood.
There haven’t been any registered complaints about the facility yet, Kelso Police Captain Darr Kirk stated last week. He added that the clinic personnel had assured the community they would follow the safest health practices.
While some community members were afraid that the patients would be loitering in front of the clinic, this has not occurred, said Kelso City Manager Steve Taylor.
The morning hours also benefit the schedules of several patients.
Kelso Treatment Solutions clinical manager, Nicole Smith stated the staff hopes the patients use the rest of their day to be productive.
Under state regulations, Kelso Treatment Solutions has the capacity to treat up to 350 patients. The staff currently assists 175 patients, sometimes more than 100 per day.
Clinic officials are in the process of transferring the 140 clients that were sent to the Vancouver clinic. So far, 73 patients have made the move to the new location.
Smith mentioned that one of the reasons some patients are taking their time to switch clinics is because they may not want to undergo a new, 4-hour intake process and submit all the required paperwork.
Following intake at Kelso Treatment Solutions, patients will be required to attend at least four hours of mental health counseling per month and take a minimum of 10 drugs tests a year.