A sparsely attended public hearing last week – only one person spoke – advanced the process of opening a planned methadone clinic east of Spokane Valley Mall.
The clinic, which could open in an office complex as soon as October at 15812 E. Indiana east of Sullivan Road, would be the second in Spokane County, which has had a waiting list for methadone treatment for years. Currently, there is only one other clinic, operated downtown by the Spokane Regional Health District.
WCHS Inc., a California-based private firm, has proposed opening the center as Spokane Treatment Solutions, which could treat about 300, in a commercial center that is shared with a law firm and a real estate office.
Shawn Chalich, an attorney who works in the same building that the treatment center would operate, was the only one who spoke against the clinic at the Aug. 4 public hearing, attended by five others. He said the clinic would be out of place for the area, which also has a restaurant and hotel nearby.
“It’s an anomaly to say the least,” Chalich said. “A visit to the site will tell you that.”
Typically, methadone – a painkilling drug – is administered to those who are chemically dependent on opiates such or pain medication like OxyContin. Those who qualify for the program are administered methadone in a liquid form, which doesn’t get the user high but instead quells cravings and allows addicts to continue with their lives and hold jobs. It also keeps them out of potential legal trouble.
Since methadone isn’t a cure, however, some can be in the program for years.
Officials with the city of Spokane Valley have remained neutral about the facility’s opening, and no representative from the city spoke at the public hearing. There has been some talk among council members of attempting to steer future medical services and offices to the area east of Pines and Mission, where Spokane Valley Hospital and Medical Center is located.
A facility site review will be conducted by the Washington Department of Social and Health services to see that it meets federal and state regulations regarding accessibility and confidentiality. Pending the outcome, certification will then be granted to WCHS Inc.
A second public hearing was held Aug. 4 in Ritzville.