A look behind King County's largest addiction treatment center

King County’s largest outpatient addiction treatment center is now open in Renton.

Ideal Option has locations nationwide, but the newest facility in Renton can provide services for up to 75 patients per day. The lab can process 600 specimens per day and has the capacity to process around 2,000 per day in the future.

“We intentionally chose this location for its availability to the greater region. It provides us with a unique space that can be inclusive of our labs so that we can do all of our lab screening in house,” April Provost, the community outreach coordinator for Ideal Option in Western Washington, said.

Provost shared with KIRO 7 her own story of battling addiction.

“A little over five years ago I was still strung out in a tent down by a river,” she said. “I went from a working professional, mom with a white picket fence to homelessness.” What she went through is a big part of why she wanted to do this type of work.

“I had no idea like how to even get the help that I needed,” she said. “I was kind of the classic tale of the over-prescription of opioids from a medical provider that then led to buying illicit supply and then I transitioned to methamphetamine.” She told KIRO 7 that she wants to make sure there are no barriers for people seeking help with addiction. She now leads community outreach for Ideal Option in the region but started working there as a peer with lived experience.

“Having somebody who’s actually overcome some of those barriers be able to walk with them through that process, really lends itself to a greater success,” she said. The Renton location makes things easy for patients because the clinic is just one floor above the testing laboratory.

“We do two types of testing, we do a screening test, which detects about eight different types of drug classes,” Mike Gaulke, the vice president of laboratory services, said. “We also do comprehensive, definitive testing which backs up and expands on the presumptive testing so that actually tests for about 46 different types of drugs.” The lab tests urine samples and can provide results for providers and patients within hours.

“It’s a very accurate method it can tell exactly the type of drug, the level of drug use that’s in the system and provides a lot more information for the provider,” Gaulke said. “This lab processes about 600 specimens a day and has a capacity to triple that so as it grows it will be able to do around 2,000 specimens a day. We don’t want to be able to tell a provider, a peer, or a patient that hey we can’t see you today because we’re not able to do your lab test, so it makes me very happy that we’re able to move into this space.” Provost explained that treatment looks different for every patient but is essentially broken down into five stages:

  • Initiation Stage: The patient is seen two times per week.
  • Stabilization A: The patient is seen once per week as they continue to see a reduction in positive readings.
  • Stabilization B: The patient is seen every two weeks.
  • Maintenance Stage: The patient is seen every three weeks and seeing mostly all clean readings.
  • Maintenance B: The patient is seen about once per month and is fully stabilized and ongoing support is provided as needed.

“What we’re finding is 60% of people are testing positive for fentanyl when they come in and start initiation,” Provost explained. “In Stage A that goes down to 33%. By Stabilization B, it’s down to 6%, so if we can get them past that second appointment their chances go up exponentially of maintaining some kind of long-term recovery.” Patients are also given 24-hour access to a nurse care line and peer support.

“It is a career path I never would have foresaw, especially in those first few months of my recovery,” Provost said. “But it is such a passion, it is such a level of fulfillment, and it is such a way for me to make some living amends and discard some of that guilt and shame that has lingered on me for so many years.”