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Province funds addiction recovery beds in southern Alberta

Premier Jason Kenney and Charlie Weasel Head, representing the Blood Tribe Department of Health board, exchange a COVID-19 elbow bump greeting. Photo by Chris Schwarz/Government of Alberta.

Fort Macleod and southern Alberta received welcome new Saturday with a $10-million investment in 125 new addiction recovery beds.

The investment is in the Blood Tribe, Fort Macleod and Lethbridge.

“The evidence of recovery is all around us,” Premier Jason Kenney said. “We are selling people short if we tell them they cannot recover from the destructive impact of addiction.”

“Treatment does work. Tens of thousands of Albertans are living proof of it.”

Premier Jason Kenney watches traditional First Nations dancing.

Kenney was at Stand Off to announce a $5-million, 75-bed recovery community on the Blood reserve.

Kenney also announced another $5-million, 50-bed recovery community in Lethbridge County.

The premier announced a $1-million annual contribution to add 16 medical detox and transition beds at Foothills Centre in Fort Macleod.

The province is also allocating up to $1-million a year for 15 detox and transition beds in Lethbridge.

“Recovery communities, also know as therapeutic communities, are a new state-of-the-art approach to addiction treatment and recovery,” Kenney said.

“It’s a long term, holistic treatment for people struggling with substance abuse, trauma, mental health issues.”

The recovery communities announced Saturday are among five the government is building across Alberta.

Recovery communities are a form of long-term residential treatment for addiction used in more than 65 countries around the world.

“The Blood Tribe has worked hard to support members who want to live free from addiction,” Indigenous Relations Minister Rick Wilson said. “With a recovery community right on their lands and another nearby in Lethbridge, those fighting the ravages of addiction will have new resources to change their life.”

“As we know, recovery is possible. Being close to their lands, traditions, culture and family will make all the difference for all involved.”

Premier Jason Kenney announced the government’s $10-million addictions treatment investment Saturday on the Blood Reserve.

Treatment at recovery communities is a gradual, ongoing process of cognitive change through clinical and peer interventions.

Program participants advance through the stages of treatment at their own pace, setting personal objectives and assuming greater responsibilities in the community along the way.

Recovery communities encourage participants to examine their personal behaviour to help them become more pro-social and positively engaged citizens — considered to be based on honesty, taking responsibility, hard work, and willingness to learn.

The goal is for a participant to leave the program not only drug-free but also employed or in school or training.

“The creation of two recovery communities in southern Alberta brings hope for recovery to those suffering from addiction in our area, and the additional detox capacity being funded shows our government’s holistic approach to addictions treatment,” Livingstone-Macleod MLA Roger Reid said. “This is good news for all of our communities in southern Alberta.”

Foothills Centre executive director Val Campbell welcomed the government’s investment in 16 new publicly funded medical detox and transition beds.

“Foothills Detox Centre plays an integral part in the first steps towards recovery,” Campbell said. “The additional funding will allow for 16 medical detox beds at our facility to enhance our capacity, allowing us to assist more individuals in southern Alberta with their recovery journey.”

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