Intercept Federal Way: Hidden resource for addicts

Intercept Federal Way is perhaps something of an unknown quantity in the region for those needing help with alcoholism and drug addiction.

Started in 1984 by Nancy Stark and her husband, Ken, the unassuming facility has helped thousands on the road to changing their lives and breaking free from the cycle of addiction.

Intercept now has the ability to help more people in recent years, thanks to its ability to receive state funding for those designated as "low-income" or who operate through the state's Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS).

"A lot of people think the only place they can go is Recovery Centers of King County in Kent," said Stark. "If they have DSHS or low-income, they can come right in. They don't need an appointment."

This ability to take clients on the fly, especially those on DSHS or designated as low-income, is important in trying to treat people, Stark said.

"If someone calls on the phone and says, 'I need your help,' we can say, 'Come here right now,'" she said. "The chances of them coming, versus you telling them, 'Oh yeah, I can get you in, in a week' are 50 percent more. Any low-income clients who are on DSHS can just come in and do the paperwork."

Intercept offers a wide array of services for its clients, including relapse prevention, intensive outpatient, regular outpatient, alcohol and drug information school, a theft class, anger management class, and youth outreach and prevention services.

Intercept has flexible schedules for those needing to attend group sessions or classes, with adult classes held noon to 2 p.m., 6 to 9 p.m., and also from 6 to 7:30 p.m. The youth program runs from 3:30 to 5 p.m. The various classes are broken up into Monday-Wednesday-Friday or Tuesday-Thursday schedules.

Stark said Intercept's presence in Federal Way was done for a specific reason.

"The main thing is, we wanted to make sure treatment was available to people in Federal Way because people need to go (to treatment) in their neighborhoods. Especially for something like intensive outpatient, which is three days a week," Stark said. "We've always tried to cater specifically to Federal Way people because this is a big city, and there are plenty of people who need treatment."

Anne Nearn, treatment director for Intercept, feels the smaller sized operation they run out of the Sterling Center, 30620 Pacific Highway S., allows them to better serve those most in need.

"It's one of the benefits of being in a smaller agency… we can individualize more, we can be a bit more outside the box in dealing with people," Nearn said. "For people who come in on their own, we have more flexibility. More (ability) to do what works…in trying to meet the needs of the population."

Some of that flexibility comes from being able to group people together with addiction issues and other issues, regardless of their socioeconomic status.

"They never plan to meet people from different strains of life, so (here) they get exposed to different people," Nearn said.

For Stark, Intercept is her life's work, and isn't something she'd be doing if she didn't believe in it.

"I wouldn't be in this business if it wasn't my life's work. It's not unstressful. You get yelled at. And then you see wonderful things that happen. People will come back and say, 'Thank you for not reacting to my behavior.' People's demeanor totally changes from this angry, scared, hurt person, to this energetic, enthusiastic, happy person, and you know that is what addiction has done," she said. "To see all those changes makes it all worth it."

Learn more

To contact Intercept Federal Way, call (253) 941-7555.

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