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Mayor Harrell Announces New City Investments in Post-Overdose Recovery Facility and Enhanced Mobile Addiction Treatment Services 

New mobile medical van deploying to Pioneer Square this summer; pilot post-overdose stabilization services coming online in June 

SEATTLE, May 9 – Today, Mayor Bruce Harrell announced $7 million in capital funds for facility improvements to organizations treating substance use disorder and providing post-overdose care, opioid medication delivery, and case management services. The Downtown Emergency Service Center (DESC) is on track to receive $5.65 million, and Evergreen Treatment Services (ETS) is a finalist to receive $1.35 million. 

“The deadly fentanyl and synthetic opioid crisis that we are seeing on our streets and in our neighborhoods demands that we be urgent, compassionate, and innovative in how we help people suffering from addiction access life-saving treatment,” said Mayor Harrell. “Advancing one of the actions of my Executive Order, this new investment in a post-overdose recovery center and mobile clinics will stabilize people following a non-fatal overdose, alleviating their painful withdrawal symptoms that often cause them to use these highly addictive drugs again and connecting them to evidence-based treatment and recovery services. Working together with the Seattle Fire Department’s Health 99 overdose response team who will be able to bring people to this facility, we are creating synergy to make a pathway to recovery more accessible to those who need it the most. Thank you to our county, state, and federal partners who are supporting these efforts that will help build a healthier, safer future for our entire city.” 

This award is part of a $27 million investment supporting Mayor Harrell’s Executive Order 2023-04: Addressing the Opioid and Synthetic Drug Crisis in Seattle, announced as part of the Downtown Activation Plan to create a safe, welcoming downtown. The US Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Community Development Block Grant provides $7 million in capital funding. Winning projects are subject to federal approval upon completion of federal requirements. 

DESC will operate a post-overdose stabilization and care facility from the Morrison Hotel on Third Avenue, following renovations expected to begin by Q1 2025. Post-overdose clients with prolonged health conditions requiring medical attention and case management services will be able to receive care at the facility for up to 23 consecutive hours.  

DESC’s service delivery will focus on three interrelated services:  

  • Post-overdose subacute stabilization and care, 
  • Rapid initiation of evidence-based medication treatments for opioid use disorder,   
  • Connections to behavioral health care and relevant physical health services. 

Beginning in June, DESC will pilot services from their Crisis Solution Center in the Chinatown-International District. 

“The ORCA Center adds another important link to our continuum of services for people who experience drug overdoses,” said Daniel Malone, Executive Director of DESC. “By providing much-needed treatment such as medications for opioid use disorder, as well as access to harm reduction supplies, education and other services, we aim to prevent the next overdose and cut down on emergency room use. This will be one of many services and strategies designed to reduce fatal overdoses and fentanyl harm and increase well-being in the city and the county. Thank you to our multiple city, county and regional partners in crisis and behavioral health services who share those priorities and goals. And thank you to the City of Seattle, King County, Washington state and a generous private benefactor without whose investments this center wouldn’t be possible.” 

Evergreen Treatment Services is an award finalist re-envisioning their proposal following winter flooding that impacted two Seattle-based facilities. While developing a new proposal, ETS will launch a new mobile clinic this summer with an additional $1 million City investment. ETS is committed to providing impactful services to meet Seattle’s emergent needs. 

“Evergreen Treatment Services deeply appreciates being considered a finalist for this award, which would go towards the funding of our Health and Recovery Campus on Airport Way S,” said Steve Woolworth, Chief Executive Officer, Evergreen Treatment Services. “The campus will expand opioid use disorder treatment through an innovative urgent care model that pairs an outpatient clinic and dispensary with a fleet of mobile medical units (MMUs), bringing life-saving medication to vulnerable populations across Seattle and King County.” 

DESC and ETS are integral to the ecosystem of first and secondary response services connected to downtown. First response includes outreach, the Seattle Fire Department’s Health One/99 teams, crisis hotlines; secondary response can include therapy and counseling, hospitals, and health services. Collaboratively they meet the needs of individuals in need and can support the wellbeing of the broader community. 

The Seattle Human Services Department led a Request for Qualifications (RFQ) for the facilities funding process. The RFQ is based on a stakeholder-informed design from the University of Washington Addictions, Drug and Alcohol Institute (ADAI). Stakeholders providing design input included those with lived experience, experts in addiction medicine, and emergency medical services providers. The ADAI will research the programs’ impact through a grant from the National Institute on Drug Abuse.  

Mayor Harrell speaks at DESC

What People Are Saying 

Councilmember Cathy Moore, Chair of the Housing and Human Services Committee 

“I thank the Mayor for taking this critical step to address the overwhelming need we are seeing on our streets for crisis SUD treatment. This pilot program will also help relieve the burden on Health One/99 of responding to overdoses with nowhere to take those revived for follow up care. I’m also thrilled to see the launch of a new mobile crisis van as part of this announcement. Mobile crisis vans are a critical piece of getting people engaged with SUD treatment and I look forward to seeing this program succeed and expand citywide.” 

Tanya Kim, Director, Seattle Human Services Department 

“The opioid crisis touches all of us, from family and friends to neighbors and colleagues. Mayor Harrell has been committed to compassionately addressing this crisis and providing an evidence-based and evidence-informed, public health response. Through this investment, we will address our city’s greatest need– supporting our loved ones suffering from this epidemic’s effects.” 

Dr. Faisal Khan, Director of Public Health – Seattle & King County 

“This is a critical step forward in the fight against substance use disorder and the fentanyl crisis we currently face. We must continue to do everything we possibly can to save precious lives.” 

Dr. Caleb Banta-Green, Research Professor at the UW School of Medicine; Director, Center for Community-Engaged Drug Education, Epidemiology & Research 

“The ORCA center is based upon what people who use opioids say they want and our research that shows what works best to support care engagement and reduce mortality.” 

Jon Scholes, President & CEO, Downtown Seattle Association 

“We encounter the impacts of the fentanyl crisis daily in downtown. Nearly two years ago we equipped our ambassador teams with Narcan to provide lifesaving intervention during an overdose. The suffering on the sidewalks has become a predictable scene that should never be acceptable and overdose calls to 911 increased by more than 100 percent in downtown last year. These investments are desperately needed to connect people to treatment and to save lives. The fentanyl crisis is a public health emergency that warrants urgent action. Downtown Seattle is grateful for Mayor Harrell’s leadership on this critical issue.” 

Chief Harold Scoggins, Seattle Fire Department 

“The emergency room is not always the best place to take someone after they’ve overdosed. This new facility solves a gap in our EMS system by providing a location for responders to take patients so they can receive specialized care, substance use treatment and be connected to supportive services.” 

Chief Amy Smith, Community Assisted Response and Engagement (CARE) Department 

“I commend Mayor Harrell for responding to the fentanyl crisis with urgency, compassion, and a keen awareness that our neighbors need medical and clinical support to recover. Alongside my colleagues in the Seattle CARE Department, I will continue to support the Seattle Fire Department and our service providers in every way possible. We can and will heal our community working together, as One Seattle.”