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Do we need a drug and alcohol rehabilitation facility in the territory? Why or why not?

Yes we need a drug and alcohol facility in every region to help people with addictions take control and become healthy individuals also to have the support/ follow up needed for their addictions. 





Lyle Fabian

I believe we need to look at re-opening a treatment center in the North, or we can look at grassroots program in each community. One of the fallbacks I’ve have heard from careworkers is the need for after-care programs in smaller communities to help continue with their sobriety. Currently there is little support for community-based programs where it is needed most.

Kevin O'Reilly

We need both residential treatment in the North and community-based programs. Residential programs provide a person a chance to dry up and learn about their problems in a safe environment. A Northern-based residential program allows aboriginal healing practices. 

Community-based programs that cover prevention, harm reduction, treatment and aftercare are very important. Success requires solutions developed within communities, strong community interest and engagement, leadership, and sustainable funding. Some types of addiction require treatment in a more specialized facility in the south. Overall, it is a continuum of care that must be supported because of the human and financial costs.  

Kieron Testart

There is a serious lack of action on addictions, mental health and homelessness in the NWT. Anyone who lives in Yellowknife understands that this problem is growing worse by the year. My plan will create a new detox centre with additional residential treatment programs that are clinically based and culturally appropriate. Northerners are best served by programs available at home and developed with local knowledge and involvement from our communities. Our government should not be pushing its social mandate onto everyday citizens. It is time for action to build a vibrant and safe Yellowknife community. 

Caroline Cochrane

Yes. Within the NWT substance abuse is among the highest in the country. However, substance abuse and mental health are often linked in my opinion and cannot be offered without each other. Addiction is often a vice we use to mask our pain.

The GNWT needs to prioritize mental health and addiction support within the next four years. We cannot afford to ignore these critical issues any longer.

Yvonne Doolittle

Of course we need an addictions treatment facility in this territory. We also need to have the supports in place so that it is effective and appropriate. Often addictions are symptoms of underlying mental health and wellness issues. An effective treatment approach must be holistic, culturally relevant and effective. Any of the communities in the Sahtu would be an excellent location for a centre. I also believe options for land based healing and treatment would be an excellent initiative to supplement a facility. 

R. J. Simpson

Yes, we need a treatment centre in the territory. Having a territorial option means that treatments can be better tailored to locals, and it facilitates better aftercare. However, some people prefer to attend centres outside of the NWT, so access to those facilities should not be discontinued. We need to ensure that any barriers to receiving treatment are removed. 

Cory Vanthuyne

Current southern providers of services are doing a good job, mostly because they provide a large suite of services that are customized to individual needs. The problem isn't where you get treatment so much as what support is there for you after treatment? The answer is we need suitable and adequate housing as a starting point. Once in housing, the communities need support programs that will keep people clean, healthy and active. That said, I am not opposed to having a treatment centre. The current hospital will be vacant in five years, maybe there’s a possibility of having addictions treatment provided there.   

Robert Hawkins


The need is enormous and the cost of doing little is tragic. To add to that, citizens have been demanding a local treatment center for years even while the Minister of Health and the government keep ignoring the wishes of the public. For this to be successful, we also need to tie this initiative with more action on mental health as the research demonstrates they are tied very tightly together.  

Jan Fullerton

There are a number of models for drug and alcohol treatment and we should prioritize solutions that address the underlying issues that contribute to problems with drugs and alcohol such as mental trauma and mental illness. The success rate for people who complete a rehabilitation program in a facility – wherever it may be – is typically low due to lack of transitional supports as they return to their homes/communities. A strategy that includes a broader approach to healing communities and families would be more effective than simply building a facility. Also, a facility would be very expensive. Given that NWT residents have access to treatment facilities now, I believe that our limited financial resources would be better spent on recovery programs that are not currently available.

Frederick Blake

There are many people who would like to have a drug and alcohol rehabilitation facility in the NWT, although when the Department of Health and Social Services did the consultations there were many people in the NWT who wanted on-the-land programs in each region. We had two in my riding, Tl'oondi and the Gwich'in wellness camp but the government didn't provide adequate funding for the programs.


Wally Schumann

Before making that call, we need to take a good look at the current system to see whether it is effective at promoting lasting rehabilitation. I am concerned that the level of aftercare in our smaller communities doesn’t support long-term results. We also need to look at previous facilities that once operated in the NWT to evaluate what worked, what didn’t, and how can we do better going forward. 

Shane Thompson

Yes, it is very important to be close to home but need properly trained staff that are culturally sensitive. As well, I would like to bring things closer to the people with community and regional centers and, where possible, on the land programming.


Edwin Castillo

The last treatment centers in Yellowknife and Hay River were closed primarily for lack of use, staffing and cost issues. We need to learn from these past lessons to explore options and develop more viable solutions based on the recurring demands to address treatment for substance abuse, addiction and mental health. One size does not necessarily fit all. There are various strategies that can be implemented including on-the-land programs that respect cultural heritage, mobile services and day services that are more immediate and localized. At the least I would like to see a central facility that could assess, provide and direct the treatment required in a controlled environment. There further needs to be collaboration between government departments (i.e., justice, health, education, housing), community and aboriginal governments and NGOs (as services may expand beyond just the regional centers) and a solid commitment towards education, training and resources in order to achieve desired results.

Robert Bouchard

I do believe that we need a Northern facility. I have heard the justification of why we are using southern facilities but I believe people want to be in the North. I think it has to be an institutional setting to begin the recovery process. The programs such as On The Land programs have to be a recovery process after people have gone through a treatment facility.  

Roy Erasmus

Yes we need a treatment center, because there are so many addicted adults and youth here. It makes no sense to send people south when we can have a culturally relevant program here. It could play a co-ordinating role for the on-the-land programs that communities are currently trying to run without co-ordination.

All addictions programming should include a nutrition and vitamin supplement component. Programs that include these claim their success rates dramatically improved. Counsellors and clients could also work on their all important support programs for once they leave their programs. It’s much harder to do that from the south.

Dave Ramsay

I have always believed our residents would benefit by having a facility here in the NWT. We have a perfect opportunity to fill this void with the construction of the new hospital, which will free up the current hospital for other health-related services. If we could establish a mental health and addictions facility here, we could not only address the needs of our own residents, but could potentially pay for it by attracting out of territory patients.

Jane Groenewegen

We need to continue to support many different programs and supports to help people seeking treatment for addictions. There is no one-size-fits-all for every scenario. Residential treatment is one piece of that spectrum which has to be available. I believe we should constantly be looking for services currently being offered to Northern residents in southern Canada for repatriation opportunities. ‎I support the ideal of making services available as close to home as possible. 


Deneze Nakehk'o

Yes. A facility to help our people with addictions is needed. But we should incorporate on the land and cultural programs as much as we can. We also need to work on improving the quality and effectiveness of our existing government programs and services in health, education and justice. 


Dennis Nelner

I suggest justice circle level camps run by local service providers. A clean living environment free from drugs and alcohol, traditional skills and language emersion are some programming that can help.



Kevin Menicoche

Do we need a drug and alcohol rehabilitation facility in the territory? Why or why not? I the NWT I believe we need a facility that will provide immediate intervention, a place where residents can be sent to for evaluation and assessment and break the cycle immediately. Speaking with residents, their preference is to complete the residential treatment in places other than the NWT for privacy and confidential reasons.

Nigit'stil Norbert

Again, yes and more support systems for those in recovery. Further, we need programs designed to meet Northern needs and incorporating on-the-land and traditional healing techniques. This is only being respectful of the people here. Currently, people wanting treatment are sent south, away from local positive support systems. The program and transportation costs associated with these six week programs (and longer) with exorbitant price tags, far outweigh the benefits of receiving treatment at home then providing ongoing local support when they are finished. Most of all, we need to honour traditional healing techniques and practices abandoned in the colonial process. With many of our people on the streets, healing is found in nature, on the land, not in some southern treatment regiment which does little for long term healing.


Jimmy Kalinek

Because not everyone would like to leave the territory and family members and I think it would help a lot of people in that situation.



Alfred Moses

Yes we do.  We continue to send people south every year and some not reaching their full length of stay. If we create a treatment center using existing infrastructure and possibly partnering with aboriginal governments or taking a pan-territorial approach, I believe we can address this issue. It will also create jobs. Mental health and addictions have been the biggest cost driver in the North and continues to be so until we make some strong decisions on how to address it.

Dan Wong

I’ll explain why I believe we need a mental health transitional facility project before a drug and alcohol treatment centre. Drug and alcohol treatment calls for specialized facilities and highly-skilled staff. Not only is it more efficient to refer Northerners to these services elsewhere, it’s highly unlikely they are feasible to establish and maintain up here. My understanding is that folks who seek drug and alcohol treatment elsewhere are not properly supported upon their return home. That's why I believe we need a Housing First project with mental health supports to help northerners continue on the path to recovery. 


Arnold Hope

We definitely need a treatment facility here in the NWT that would allow our people a chance to better their lives...We have lost too much of our aboriginal residents here in Nahendeh to alchohol, just LOOK at our graveyards.



Tom Beaulieu

Yes as long as it is culturally based and has an on the land and a mobile component to it. However, it would be essential to maintain the option for people that wish to attend a medical model treatment facility in the south.



Bob McLeod

I would support a rehabilitation facility if we could be sure of its success. We’ve had to close facilities in the NWT primarily because of lack of use. If we go down this path we need to consult with the medical community and community-based (outpatient) counsellors to learn what we must do to achieve success. In the meantime, given our geography and small population, we refer patients to residential treatment centres, like AADAC in Alberta, to ensure our patients receive the specialized services they need. It’s not a perfect solution, but it’s a solution that works for those who need and are willing to accept help.


Norman Snowshoe

Yes. I believe we have a very high level of addictions in the North and it makes sense to have a facility in the North. The last assembly carried out a forum and there was recommendations that a facility be established with ties to on the land programming. This was never done.



Chris Clarke

We most definitely need a rehabilitation facility in the territory. As an Dene Northerner, I see the effects of substance abuse first hand, and the abuse is extremely high. I am absolutely astounded the GNWT has not made this work already. 



Brian Willows

We had a drug and alcohol treatment centre in the North. It was shut down by the government and sits empty across from Hay River on the K'atlodeeche First Nation. Hay River lost 8 or 9 positions and the North lost what was viewed by many to have been a successful treatment center. I am not going to point fingers as to why the government made this decision other than to say that instead of correcting whatever the issues were the government chose the simplest of actions and shutdown the only facility in the Northwest Territories. We now send our clients south. Think about that. We take folks from small and large communities and send them to the city with no family support and no post care when they return home.

Notwithstanding the years of rhetoric from our leaders about the perils and societal costs of drugs and alcohol this has been a shameful legacy left to us from the 17th legislature. The K'atlodeeche First Nations is open and willing to revisit this issue with the government to explore reopening the treatment center. I am in support of re-opening the facility.


Daryl Dolynny

The past four attempts for such a facility have failed for various reasons, not the least, programs that did not work, safety issues, too expensive, or staffing issues. The current system of sending our residents down south for treatment was sold to us as a Band-Aid solution. Sadly, it appears to have found permanent footing. With only a few withdrawal management spots in Yellowknife and Inuvik, NWT residents face a disconnect with proper support with addictions management and rehabilitation in their own back yard. If elected I will continue to pursue a proper treatment facility that will offer a whole suite of 40-to-90 day programs that work, create partnerships with successful programs like Poundmakers, co-ordinate community treatment models that work alongside our treatment facility, provide meaningful measurements and reporting on substance abuse, and maintain daily operational costs at $150 to $200/day per client.  

Julie Green

We need an on-the-land treatment centre in a central location that provides professional programming for individuals battling addictions. This service would include outreach to families of addicts who need healing and treatment as well. There needs to be a greater emphasis on after-care and support after treatment to assist individuals to maintain their sobriety. This after-care program could be delivered through the web or over the phone if it’s not feasible to provide it in person. Treatment and after-care needs to be developed in consultation with communities to ensure it meets their needs and capacity.

Ben Nind

Yes. We need to own our addiction scenario. We have a growing grass root activation of individuals and groups who are now identifying with their roots in a positive and progressive manner. There are many examples that surround us.  We have the capability and a desperate need to establish a land-based addictions centre that offers time plus programming for those who are dealing with their afflictions and wanting to heal and walk the path of sobriety and responsibility. This has to be based in the North because sending the problems south just adds to the sense and reality of institutionalized segregation. Our unique environment and cultural lens is essential for the healing process. If this is done right and managed properly it can be a leading facility for addictions both here in the North but also on a wider scale.

Glen Abernethy

We need a variety of programs to meet the individual needs of residents suffering from addictions. Residents currently have access to a wide range of services from four southern treatment facilities (with expedited referral), on-the-land programming, community based outpatient treatment (Matrix), and community based counseling. The GNWT must also implement a mobile treatment program using existing facilities as an option. Additionally, we need a Mental Health Transitional Facility in Yellowknife that can facilitate treatment for residents suffering from mental health challenges and addictions as they transition back to their communities.


Don Jaque






Samuel Roland

We have to work within our means and see why they haven't worked in the past and build on it and make a strategy to keep our people in the North.



Desmond Zane Loreen

The North needs a place for our people who live here to heal and begin
a new and stronger life. if we don't support them here at home, they
will come back into the same broken machine. Once people see that they
don't have to travel to Alberta or BC to heal, it might open more
doors for those who want help. To those who are battling with
addictions, write letters and tell the Government exactly what we want
here at home. If we bring the healing closer to the communities, we
will see a better result and stronger homes to go back to.

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