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Swinomish Tribe's New Substance Abuse Treatment Center Open To All

didgwa?lic? Wellness Center
The Swinomish Tribe
A rendering of the new didgwa?lic? Wellness Center in Anacortes.";


The Swinomish Tribe is opening a substance abuse treatment clinic in Anacortes, and staff are calling it the most comprehensive drug addiction program in the state.

The new clinic is called the didgwa?lic? Wellness Center. But the Swinomish reservation has been offering addiction treatment services to its members for a while.

Clinic executive director John Stephens says tribal leaders realized a little more than a year ago that the treatment needed to expand beyond the reservation.

“One of the most important things that was said by one of the tribal leaders was, ‘We have something that can help solve problems. We can help other people. They’re our neighbors and we have an obligation to do what we can,'” Stephens said.

The wellness center offers addiction and mental health services, along with primary medical care, which is unique to the clinic compared to other facilities in the state. All services are available to both tribal and non-tribal members. The center is also providing transportation to and from the facility, as well as parenting classes.

Dawn Lee, the program director the new center, says a lot of thought went into treatment services at the facility, as well as its "look and feel."

"Some places that you go into, they do feel sterile. They don't have the 'homey' feeling, or they just feel like it's just a clinic. Or you're just a number," Lee said. "But when you walk in you really get the sense that someone has put time and effort into making this into a really nice, healing environment."

Staff say there are already 250 people on the waiting list to get treatment.

Ariel first entered a public radio newsroom in 2004 while in school at Bradley University in Peoria, Illinois. It was love at first sight. After graduating from Bradley, she went on to earn a Master's degree in Public Affairs Reporting from the University of Illinois at Springfield. Ariel has lived in Indiana, Ohio and Alaska reporting on everything from salmon spawning to policy issues concerning education. She's been a host, a manager and now rides shotgun with Kirsten Kendrick as the Morning Edition producer at KNKX.