Healing People Hurt by Addiction
When police and sheriff’s deputies arrest someone for eligible offenses, they can be taken to jail or diverted to Spokane’s new Regional Stabilization Center.
“Usually, when they want to go to treatment, we are able to provide them this resource. Then, we’re able to take them there and get them in either a withdrawal program, mental health program, or a co-occurring disorder,” explained Spokane police officer Richie Plunkett.
For example, recently a young woman was admitted to the Stabilization Center after deputies found her sleeping in a flower bed.
“So, I offered her stabilization here. A chance to get help with her medications, and she accepted. We were able to avoid a trespassing arrest and bring her here, and hopefully, get her the help that she needs,” said Deputy Travis Pendell.
Spokane County, the City of Spokane, and local leaders stood up the regional Stabilization Center last fall when they realized someone with drug or mental health problems wasn’t likely going to make a successful recovery behind bars.
“Yes, and that is what is beautiful about this facility, that it gives them that opportunity. If they need mental health help, if they need to look at medications to help them with that, it does that. If they’ve got a substance abuse issue, then we can help them in that area,” detailed Spokane County Commissioner Mary Kuney.
Medical professionals at the Stabilization Center can identify care plans and prescribe medicine that can help someone who is ready and willing to start a new path beyond the revolving door of our county jail.
Patients enjoy healthy meals and have safe, clean places to sleep.
The Pioneer Human Services staff know, by providing those daily essentials, their patients are free to concentrate on resolving their individual issues.
“I’ve been in treatment over 49 times in my life and realized, I didn’t want to quit. I didn’t want to come away from my security blanket, which was drugs and alcohol,” admitted Clay, a former patient at the Stabilization Center.
After 45 years of life on our streets and more than one hundred arrests, Clay was diverted to the Stabilization Center last March.
“This place made me comfortable enough to keep going with it, and I stuck with it, and I’m still sticking with it,” pledged Clay.
Clay has now been clean and sober for six months.
“I still stay in contact with these people because they are my new friends and they are real,” Clay said during a recent visit with the center’s staff who provided Clay’s treatment.
With the help of referrals from law enforcement, the center is now offering treatment to an average of 35 patients every day.
But this new way of offering people a course out of addiction would have never become a reality without regional cooperation.
“The issues that we are facing today are really regional issues. And so, if we can come together with our regional partners to address those issues together, that’s what we need to be doing. And, I’m really happy with this collaborative effort to get people connected to the resources they need,” said Spokane Mayor Nadine Woodward.
In the first quarter of 2022, 86 percent of the people who received treatment at the center reported improvement in their well-being and mental health recovery.
In addition to treatment, Pioneer connected 46 percent of those same patients, including Clay, with a new place to live, off of Spokane streets.
“And I think this shows, when we really come together, and we put politics aside, we’re going to make a difference for our community and our citizens,” concluded Kuney.
Video by Jeff Humphrey, City Cable 5