A ‘new generation’ option for men’s substance abuse treatment set to open in June

A new men’s addiction treatment facility in Mount Vernon aims to help meet the need for short-term care in Skagit County.

Legacy Lodge, operated by Evergreen Recovery Centers, is on schedule to start accepting patients in late June after about two years of renovations, CEO Linda Grant said Tuesday during an open house at the facility.

“At this point, if you want treatment, Yakima and Spokane are your best bet,” she said. “There aren’t many treatment centers on the west side (of the state) anymore.”

Legacy Lodge is the only short-term intensive inpatient care facility in the county, where up to 28 patients stay for up to 90 days while they work with counselors and staff on substance use and mental health issues.

While the facility will focus on treatment for substance abuse, Grant said staff acknowledge that trauma and a history of mental health issues contribute to addiction and need to be addressed.

“If there are psychological issues that aren’t being addressed … the chance of relapse is immense,” she said.

Legacy Lodge staff will also work with patients on employment or education plans and help connect them to support groups, so they can be ready to help themselves when they leave treatment, she said.

Program Manager Robert McCullough said the center will serve only men because single-gender centers help patients open up more in group therapy.

In his experience, he said men have difficulty talking about trauma and making themselves vulnerable in a co-ed group therapy session.

“We’re taught to man up and let things go,” he said. “That’s easier said than done.”

The county’s largest inpatient treatment center, Pioneer Center North, is set to shut down in the next one to three years, said Joe Valentine, director of the North Sound Behavioral Health Organization.

“We need over 100 beds in this region,” he said.

That’s why Valentine and his organization contributed $2.3 million for the construction and operation of Legacy Lodge in anticipation of the closure of the about 140-bed Pioneer Center North facility in Sedro-Woolley.

Legacy Lodge represents a new generation of small care facilities that are integrated into the community, he said. When facilities feel less institutional, patients feel more comfortable.

Valentine said he is grateful to Grant and Evergreen Recovery Centers for acknowledging the need for more treatment beds and for creating them.

The Behavioral Health Organization received funding from the state Legislature’s 2018 capital budget to work on facilities in Whatcom, Skagit and Snohomish counties to replace Pioneer Center North.