Find licensed treatment for substance abuse at a rehab facility in Tacoma. The area has a variety of inpatient and outpatient treatment programs, and it’s home to a large community of people in recovery. The Pierce County chapter of Alcoholics Anonymous, the Kitsap and North Mason chapter of AA and Pierce County Area Narcotics Anonymous host almost 1,000 meetings in the Tacoma area every week.
Several organizations and the local government in Pierce County provide outreach services to individuals with substance use disorders and co-occurring disorders. The county recently began a pilot program to reach out to homeless individuals who need mental health services.
“In a county this size, there’s always a need for more crisis services, more prevention and intervention services,” Peter Ansara, director of human services for Pierce County, told King-TV, an NBC affiliate. “We see a significant uptick in opioid use and drug use, and that has a lot to do with how people live and what their future looks like.”
Pierce County Executive Bruce Dammeier told King-TV that the goals of the county’s behavioral health services were to get people the care they need, to reduce the burden on first responders and to reduce the number of people with mental illness in jail.
“By default, people with a mental illness or in a crisis were involving our law enforcement heavily, our fire service heavily, our emergency departments and our jail heavily,” Dammeier told King-TV. “We knew there’s got to be a better way.”
The Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department runs outpatient treatment, maintenance and monitoring services for individuals suffering from opioid addiction or dependency. It also provides drug abuse prevention programs, counseling, therapy and referral services.
The Pierce County Alliance provides substance abuse and mental health services for residents and families in Pierce County. The nonprofit offers court-supervised drug addiction treatment, outpatient treatment services and alcohol and drug testing. The organization also works with foster homes to teach children life skills.
Pierce County has a felony drug court and a family drug court. The special courts help people with substance use disorders who are accused of nonviolent crimes access treatment, educational resources and other support services.
The Metropolitan Development Council develops and runs programs aimed at combatting poverty in Pierce County. The MDC Behavioral Health and Recovery Center provides detox, family counseling and counseling referral services. The MDC Detoxification Center provides detox for thousands of individuals every year.
The Pierce County Chemical Dependency Treatment and Prevention program works with local organizations to educate the community and reaches out to individuals who inject illicit drugs. It also offers care for children of parents in treatment and provides involuntarily treatment for select individuals.
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Colleges in the Tacoma area provide services to help students, faculty and staff suffering from a variety of mental health problems, including drug or alcohol addiction.
Pierce College provides educational materials, counseling and referral services for students and employees affected by drug abuse or addiction. Students can access free counseling services on the Puyallup and Fort Steilacoom campuses, and employees can find help for addiction through the college’s Employee Advisory Service.
Green River College provides free counseling sessions for students who are suffering from stress, anxiety, depression or harmful behavior related to drug or alcohol abuse. The Health Services office helps students and staff members manage stress, quit smoking or learn about the effects of drugs and alcohol. The campus is also 100 percent tobacco-free.
Students at Tacoma Community College can receive free counseling services for topics including grief and loss, anxiety, and alcohol or other drug problems. Services include individual counseling and support groups. The college also provides a free online alcohol assessment called eCHECKUP TO GO.
Numerous sober homes in Pierce County give people in recovery a safe place to call home. The New Phoebe House provides housing for up to 40 women and their children, and the 811 House provides multiple rooms for men.
Tacoma also offers 20 Oxford Houses. These peer-run sober living environments typically house between four and eight people in recovery. Most homes allow only adult men or only adult women, but one Oxford House in Tacoma allows women and children, and another allows men and children.
The nonprofit Pioneer Human Services also has three transitional housing apartment buildings for individuals committed to sober living. Each building is located in downtown Tacoma. Two of the buildings have about a dozen rooms each, and the third building has more than 30 apartments. Residents must have no history of sex offenses or arson offenses.
Many people in recovery need help finding work or learning trade skills, and several organizations in Pierce County are available to help.
Adult Education and GED preparation classes are available at:
Career retraining programs are provided by:
Free computer classes are available at:
Pierce College, Tacoma Community College, Bates Technical College and Clover Park Technical College each provide adult education courses, career retraining programs and technology courses.
Prescription opioid and heroin misuse are prevalent in the Tacoma area. The rate of deaths from opioid overdoses in Pierce County grew by 32 percent from 2002–2004 to 2011–2013. The rate of people seeking publicly funded treatment for opioid addiction increased by 152 percent during the same time frame, according to an Alcohol and Drug Abuse Institute report.
Many people addicted to opioids in Tacoma and other parts of the country seem to be replacing prescription opioids with heroin. A Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department report revealed that the rate of deaths involving prescription opioids decreased after 2011, but the rate of heroin deaths increased. People seeking treatment for heroin addiction also spiked in recent years, but those seeking treatment for other types of opioid addiction dropped.
An estimated 18 percent of adults in Pierce County smoke tobacco, and 16 percent drink excessively, per County Health Rankings & Roadmaps. The state’s Healthy Youth Survey showed that alcohol and marijuana were the most commonly abused substances among 12th-graders in 2016.
You can find several ways to have fun without using alcohol or other drugs in Tacoma. Pierce County has a variety of sober activities for individuals of all ages.
If you’re looking for an indoor daytime activity, you can visit the Tacoma Art Museum, the Washington State History Museum or America’s Car Museum. You can also walk along the Chihuly Bridge of Glass on your way to Tacoma’s Museum of Glass.
You have several options for theaters to visit in Tacoma. On Broadway, you can check out the Pantages Theater, the Rialto or the Theater on the Square, all part of the Broadway Center for the Performing Arts. View independent, foreign and local films at The Grand Cinema in downtown Tacoma, a nonprofit theater that hosts the Tacoma Film Festival.
Tacoma is home to numerous parks and outdoor recreational areas. You can travel to Point Defiance Park, home of the Point Defiance Zoo and Aquarium. You can also visit Wright Park, the Tacoma Nature Center or watch a minor league baseball game at Cheney Stadium.
Governments in Kitsap and Pierce counties host several prevention and intervention efforts to reduce drug abuse and treat addiction in local communities.
Volunteers with the Tobacco-free Alliance of Pierce County lead the Tacoma-Pierce Health Department’s anti-tobacco programs. Programs include a healthy alternatives project aimed at youth and e-cigarette education campaigns.
The Tacoma Police Department and the Pierce County Sheriff’s Office comprise the Tacoma Regional Task Force. The task force investigates and works to dismantle drug trafficking organizations, gathers drug-related intelligence and conducts undercover investigations in Pierce County, Washington.
The Tacoma-Pierce County DUI and Traffic Safety Task Force comprises several government agencies and local businesses that work together to reduce the number of injuries and deaths caused by driving under the influence. The task force hosts monthly patrols, educational presentations and community awareness events.
The Mental Health Substance Use Disorder Collaboration is an effort by the city of Tacoma to bring mental health service providers and drug abuse prevention organizations together. The collaboration meets monthly to network and discuss drug abuse and addiction in the community.
The Kitsap County Substance Abuse Advisory Board advises Kitsap County Human Services on drug prevention efforts, funding allocations and budget development. The board’s mission is to help ensure that Kitsap County is a safe and drug-free environment for all citizens.
Kitsap County is home to several community-based drug abuse prevention programs, including the South Kitsap Substance Abuse Coalition, the North Kitsap Substance Abuse Prevention Coalition and the Bremerton Substance Abuse Prevention Coalition. The coalitions work together to combat drug abuse in Kitsap County.
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The Franklin Pierce Youth First! Coalition strives to promote a safe and drug-free community by providing resources for families and youth. The organization is part of the federally funded Franklin Pierce Prevention Partnership, which hosts prevention initiatives such as focus groups, trainings and workshops.
Orting Standing Together on Prevention changed its name from the Coalition for a Drug and Alcohol Free Orting to expand its focus on overall drug abuse prevention in Orting. The federally funded nonprofit works with The Haven Teen Center, the Orting School District and the Safe Streets program to provide tutoring, prevention clubs, online safety classes and other activities.
The Safe Streets Campaign works to eradicate illegal drug use, gang activity and drug-related violence in Pierce County. Volunteers serve as block group leaders, assist with cleanups and help with a variety of neighborhood projects.
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