Mayor Jon Nehring talks with Dr. Drew about the local Embedded Social Worker program

Marysville Mayor Jon Nehring talked to Dr. Drew Pinsky and southern California about the local efforts to deal with homelessness and addiction on March 11.

Dr. Drew is a nationally syndicated talk radio host known for programs like “Loveline” which ran from 1984 to 2016.

He also hosts radio shows for a Los Angeles based audience, including “Dr. Drew Midday Live,” which Nehring was invited on to.

The two talked about Snohomish County’s Embedded Social Worker program, which Marysville has been participating in since March.

The program is meant to address chronic homelessness and those battling addiction.

“That is a public health disaster here in southern California,” said Dr. Drew on the show.

“We bring a social worker and embed that social worker with a member of our police force,” said Nehring on the show.

“And they’re dedicated to this full-time. Every day they go out in the woods to contact the homeless, who are usually dealing with some sort of addiction,” Nehring said. “The idea is to convince them to get help.”

On the program Nehring described the program as having both "a carrot and a stick."

“We do have a zero tolerance policy for those that aren’t willing to get help,” he said. “If after seven, eight or nine contacts the police officer and social worker believe they are getting the run around, then that’s when we bring in the criminal enforcement."

The embedded social worker program has received a lot of attention from news outlets and communities, both inside and outside of Washington state.

“We were confident it would be an improvement,” said Nehring, but they didn’t expect this much success or outside attention.

“I was happy because I think it shows that we’re really making an impact with the program,” he said. “And it’s good for other people to know about what’s going on here."

Nehring also wanted to make it clear that there’s a lot of credit to go around.

“It should be noted that this is a real team effort,” he said. The county pays for half of the social worker’s salary and the County Council and County Sheriff helped push and create the program.

He said he was also happy about the opportunity to tell other communities about Marysville’s approach to homelessness and addiction.

“I enjoyed the experience,” he said. “I like that I got to share the story of Marysville and what we’re doing as a community."

After the interview was done, he didn’t expect the amount of talk about it either.

“I didn’t really know the level of following he had,” said Nehring.

Dr. Drew thanked Nehring for his involvement and support of the social worker program.

“Thank you for taking care of all your constituents, both on the street and off, it helps everyone else when you help the ones who need the most,” Dr. Drew said.

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