Arlington Comes Out of the Shadows to Discuss Drug Awareness


Hannah Chung

Keynote speaker Lindsey Greinke discusses how “hope soldiers” can help recovering drug users and their families.

Arlington is known for being a close-knit community, but this rang even more true on November 19th, when a community meeting was called to address the prevalent drug problem that seems to be growing as of late.

The meeting, “Out of the Shadows,” was attended by principals, police, teachers, and community members. People from all walks of life came together to address this problem, and there was one cornerstone message that was prevalent throughout:  “If we work together, we can overcome.”

Arlington–more specifically, Smoky Point–is slowly becoming more urbanized, and is no longer the small farming town that it is often perceived to be. According to Cascade Valley Hospital, in the first 9 months of 2015, there have been 21 young people attempt suicide, and of the 21, 19 were attempted by the taking of other family members’ prescription pills.

According to speakers at the meeting, heroin usage in Snohomish County is on the rise–especially in the north end–and Arlington has become caught in this ravaging drug wave.  Lisa Martin, who has had her own personal experience with family drug usage, said that more and more young people are becoming addicted, and that “it is time for a change.”

Fortunately, there are people in the community who aim at helping restore positivity and hope throughout the area.  Lindsey Greinke, founder of “hope soldiers,” a group that aims at education people about addiction, was the first keynote speaker, and she felt very strongly that the “time has come to be bold, courageous, and tackle this problem in unity.” Over the last few years, Greinke and several other Hope Soldiers have helped recovering addicts not only stop using, but recover emotionally as well.

The community seemed to embrace this message, and rallied along Greinke, as well as Martin;  a local mother who dealt with her youngest daughter’s battle with addiction.  Martin warned parents of drug and alcohol usage, and that even the occasional use of alcohol among teens “can lower inhibitions, and allow a more dangerous addiction to set in.”  As she shared the emotional story of how she dealt with her daughter’s heroin usage, Lisa wanted everyone to know that “addiction is a family disease,” and that the problem does not affect the user alone.

Arlington High’s own Shanna Crookes was the last keynote speaker, and she had an extremely powerful message to share:  “Shame and stigma cannot exist in the same space as compassion.”

Groups also presented on how and where addicts can go to for help. Landon Beale, a member of Youth Dynamics, shared that, “Youth Dynamics is a Christian based program that helps teens find an alternative to partying, and offers a safe place for all.”

Appearances were also made by the Arlington Police Department, Alcoholics Anonymous, Al-Ateen, several school officials, and the district nurse.

The night proved to be very informative, as a plethora of information was shared on how to properly approach this rising drug crisis. This was the second “Out of the Shadows” event held at Arlington High School, and is projected to continue next year.