Getting to Know Gateway

Getting to Know Gateway

Alicja Carter
March 16, 2021 / 5 mins read

For the past 36 years, Gateway to Prevention and Recovery has served individuals, families, and communities in Oklahoma who have been affected by substance abuse and mental health disorders. Since these early years, Gateway has been dedicated to providing community based behavioral health services that assist individuals and families with their emotional, behavioral, physical, and spiritual well-being. Currently, Gateway is the largest provider of outpatient addictions and co-occurring treatment services in Oklahoma outside of Oklahoma City and Tulsa. Gateway is unlike any other outpatient substance use provider in the state, in that it possesses thriving treatment, prevention, and wellness programs that work hand in hand to see to it that health and wellness if fully integrated into the life of each Oklahoman.

Brief History

  • Gateway, initially named “The DARE Program of Shawnee,” had its beginnings in the early 1980’s as Sallie McLaughlin, Gateway’s CEO, and other local citizens were concerned about their teenage children who had developed problems with drugs and alcohol. This planning group sought guidance from Chemical People television specials and soon partnered with the Shawnee Noon Day Lions Club to set up a hotline that would serve as a support for other families facing similar issues with no place to turn.
  • On June 6th, 1985, “The DARE Program of Shawnee” secured 501c3 non-profit status; hired its first professional staff member; and received a foundation grant for operating capital. Through efforts from the Board of Directors, private donations, the Shawnee Noon Day Lions Club and United Way, funding was acquired to start providing addiction treatment services to the community.
  • In 1987, “The DARE Program of Shawnee” was among the first programs to receive funding from ODMHSAS for prevention services. Sallie attended the necessary training in Kansas and brought the program to Shawnee.
  • “The DARE Program of Shawnee” was asked to change its name due to it being a federal trademark. Sallie held a competition to rename the agency. Pratt Foods of Shawnee provided a VCR and Sallie delivered the prize to a patient that was serving jail time. On February 23rd, 1990, “The DARE Program of Shawnee” became “Gateway to Prevention and Recovery.”
  • In 2014, Gateway hired a Wellness Coordinator and began expanding its Wellness Program. These efforts included a greater focus on staff wellness, patient empowerment and participation, and community involvement.
  • In 2019, Life.Church chose Gateway as a local mission partner and awarded Gateway with a $5,000 grant which created the opportunity for Gateway to begin working with volunteers to support its programs.
  • In 2020, Jon Greenwood was named interim CEO as Sallie Mclaughlin, President retired in December 2020.

Prevention * Treatment * Wellness

Prevention: Abby Flood, 275-3391,

Gateway’s Prevention Team works at the state and local level to stop or slow the development of substance use or mental health disorders before they begin.

  • Creating healthier policies
  • Collaborating with coalitions
  • Empowering youth
  • Offering education and support on how to make better choices and decrease harmful behaviors.

Treatment: Front Office, 405-273-1170 x0

Gateway’s Behavioral Health Team provides outpatient treatment for people with substance abuse and low-severity mental health disorders.

  • In 2019, ASAM defined addiction as “a treatable, chronic medical disease involving complex interactions among brain circuits, genetics, the environment, and an individual’s life experiences. People with addiction use substances or engage in behaviors that become compulsive and often continue despite harmful consequences.”
  • Gateway believes that recovery from addiction is possible as individuals have desire and access to appropriate treatment interventions and connect to opportunities that support and sustain their well-being.
  • Gateway serves patients in Pottawatomie, Lincoln, and Seminole Counties.
  • All Gateway treatment staff are trauma informed, culturally sensitive, licensed professionals who use evidence based practices when working with patients.
  • Gateway serves children, adolescents, and adults on either a free or sliding scale and does not refuse services for an inability to pay.
  • In addition to substance abuse counseling, Gateway offers free Gambling treatment and has a Medication Assisted Treatment Program.

Wellness: Alicja Carter, 405-432-2750,

Wellness is an active process of becoming aware of and making choices towards a healthy and fulfilling life. It is more than being free from illness, it is a dynamic process of change and growth. All participants in Gateway’s Wellness Program work together to support wellness in recovery and restore lives worth living.

  • Gateway’s Wellness Team, which is made up of staff from all locations, meets together regularly to promote monthly wellness challenges, healthy snacks, connection, and appreciation among staff members. Wellness Coaches, who are also a part of the Wellness Team, ensure that wellness opportunities and resources are integrated into our patients’ treatment to support their recovery and improve their overall well-being.
  • Gateway’s R.A.W. Groups (Recovery Action Wellness) foster leadership opportunities, service, play, and connection among Gateway patients/alumni and the larger community. Facebook Pages include:
    • RAW Groups (Encomasses all the groups listed below.)
    • ACTION Community Service (Seminole’s Community Service Team)
    • Community Service Team (Shawnee’s Community Service Team)
    • Sober Sports (Shawnee’s Sober Sports Team)
    • Chandler Wellness Team
    • Walk the Walk Alumni Group
  • Gateway’s Volunteers help to support and sustain existing programs as well as expand Gateway’s reach and capacity to serve the community in a way that brings true relief and healing.

Gateway recognizes that addiction affects the entire person, family system, and surrounding community and is intentional about creating a program of recovery and healing that does the same. No matter where you are on your journey, you can Expect Hope with Gateway. To get connected, please reach out to any of the contacts listed above.