Gateway Gazette

New Indigenous Addiction Treatment and Police Funding

New funding will expand the Blood Tribe safe withdrawal site and give local police the tools they need to keep Indigenous Albertans safe.

The Alberta government is providing up to $2.2 million per year to expand the Kottakinoona Awaahkapiiyaawa (Bringing the Spirit Home) safe withdrawal management site from six beds to 24. This means that over the next three years, 3,753 additional Indigenous Albertans will receive addiction services.

“Our government is proud to provide funding to help this innovative facility support Albertans in the fight against addiction. By creating more spaces, we give more people the opportunity to get on the path to health, wellness and long-term recovery. This is part of our promise to create a fully funded continuum of care for addiction treatment and recovery.”Jason Luan, Associate Minister of Mental Health and Addictions

“Bringing the Spirit Home is run by our community and designed for our community. This increased funding will first and foremost allow us to save lives and help more people in our community struggling with drug addiction. This funding is an important step to help address addiction and support recovery for those who need it most.”Kevin Cowan, CEO, Kottakinoona Awaahkapiiyaawa (Bringing the Spirit Home)

The provincial government is also investing $13.6 million this year for the Blood Tribe Police Service and other Indigenous policing initiatives.

Provincial funding for Blood Tribe police is increasing by $480,000, which will go toward hiring five additional officers.

“Along with providing more access to treatment, we believe in a balanced approach to drug addiction that includes ensuring police have the ability to target criminals who prey on vulnerable Albertans by selling illicit drugs. This additional funding will allow Blood Tribe police to create five new positions and put those officers where they’re needed most.”Doug Schweitzer, Minister of Justice and Solicitor General

“The Blood Tribe Police Service has been anticipating these five new positions since they were identified by the Blood Tribe, Public Safety Canada and the Province of Alberta in July 2019. These much-needed positions will certainly add to the safety and security of the Blood Tribe. We look forward to the signatories of the tripartite agreement continuing to work together on a long-term funding arrangement.”Kyle Melting Tallow, chief of police, Blood Tribe Police Service

“This is excellent news for Kainai First Nation and all of southern Alberta. For years, we have called for more addiction treatment services and supports in our communities. I’m proud that our government has listened and is investing in services that will save lives and help more Albertans on the road to recovery.”Joseph Schow, MLA for Cardston-Siksika

“Our government has heard loud and clear the requests from First Nations and Métis leaders for additional treatment spaces and supports for their communities. Today’s announcement is another step towards improving treatment services and addressing the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s calls to action.”Rick Wilson, Minister of Indigenous Relations

Quick facts: Funding for Bringing the Spirit Home

  • This community-developed program provides a safe transition to addiction treatment and recovery services.
  • When paramedics respond to an overdose in the community, the client can choose to go to the nearest hospital or the safe withdrawal management site where they receive medical detox services and 24-hour clinical care for 10 to 14 days.
  • Those who choose to go to the site also have the option of attending the Kainai Transition Society to support their recovery and transition back into the community.
  • More than 150 people are currently on a wait-list to access the site.
  • The Government of Alberta is investing $140 million by 2023 to create a full continuum of treatment and supports for Albertans experiencing mental health and addictions issues.
    • This includes funding to treat an additional 4,000 people in publicly funded treatment spaces across Alberta.

Quick facts: Funding for Blood Tribe Police Service

  • New funding for the Blood Tribe Police Service is part of a $1.4 million increase in the province’s contribution to the First Nations Policing Program, which provides funding for three self-administered Indigenous police services in Alberta as well as RCMP positions in 21 participating communities.
  • Under this program, the Government of Alberta pays 48 per cent of policing costs in participating communities, with Public Safety Canada responsible for 52 per cent.
  • In 2020-21, Alberta will contribute $3.5 million to the Blood Tribe police.

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