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New addiction recovery model introduced

By Dave Lueneberg
Shootin’ the Breeze Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
August 17, 2023
The vision of an Indigenous-led drug-recovery facility on the Blood Tribe First Nation near Standoff is one step closer to reality.

The Alberta government and members of the Blood Tribe First Nation have unveiled details of a recovery community that will house 75 beds and treat up to 300 people per year through holistic healing.

“This has been a long and hard battle for our people,” said Blood Tribe councillor Piinaakoyim Tailfeathers at a July 19 ground-breaking ceremony.

“We recognize that drug abuse is only a symptom of a much larger issue and we need to address poverty, the inequalities and trauma our people face daily, and treat the root cause of addiction. We need to find our own path to healing. Every one of us in this community has suffered trauma, grief and loss of life.”

In March 2015, local leaders declared a state of emergency based on a rise in deaths linked to pills believed to be laced with fentanyl. A similar emergency declaration was made in 2018.

“Addiction doesn’t just impact one’s health or one’s well-being. It damages relationships. It affects a community. It affects work and erodes a person’s very sense of self and connection to their community,” said Mental Health and Addictions Minister Dan Williams.

“Recovery communities give people the resources they need and time to focus exclusively on recovery,” he added.

The project, one of 11 being built across the province, will be open to Indigenous and non-Indigenous Albertans, and services will be free.

It is hoped the facility on the Blood Tribe First Nation will be completed by late 2024.

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