Alberta invests $30M for 75-bed Blood Tribe recovery community

The Alberta government is partnering with the Blood Tribe to build the first Indigenous-led recovery community with a $30 million investment, the province announced Wednesday.

The facility called the Blood Tribe Recovery Community will offer “culturally appropriate treatment” and holistic healing on Blood Tribe lands for up to 300 people each year.

The community will be run by the Blood Tribe Department of Health and will have 75 recovery beds.

This comes after the province announced it will establish 11 new recovery centres throughout the province.

WATCH: New addiction treatment centres on Indigenous Nations in Alberta

Minister of Mental Health and Addiction Dan Williams says the milestone in increasing addiction treatment in Alberta is “truly built for those most in need.”

“As part of our commitment to land-based treatment, we have ensured that every aspect of this new building was designed in collaboration with the Blood Tribe. We are looking forward to delivering this vital service to those suffering from the deadly disease of addiction in southern Alberta,” his statement reads.

Chief Roy Fox of Blood Tribe First Nation says this comes as the opioid crisis is “deeply affecting the Blood Tribe as well as other Indigenous Communities,” adding the new facility will support the community “through the lens of Kainayssini.”

“Every member has felt the pain of losing a friend or family member,” he said.

Aerial rendering of the Blood Tribe Recovery Community

Aerial rendering of the Blood Tribe Recovery Community. (Courtesy Government of Alberta)

The province says the Blood Tribe Recovery Community is the first of four to be built, with the others being the Enoch Cree Nation, Tsuut’ina Nation and Siksika Nation.

Construction is expected to be completed by late 2024, with the government noting clients will be able to enter soon after.

“The new 75-bed recovery community, rooted in the Blackfoot way of healing, aims to improve the health of the community and to reduce health inequities of our most disadvantaged and vulnerable members, strengthening our continuum of care,” said the CEO of the Blood Tribe Department of Health Derrick Fox.

Read More: Alberta partners with Tsuut’ina Nation on 75-bed recovery facility

According to the government, recovery communities are an “important part of Alberta’s recovery model of addiction and mental health care,” which would allow Albertans the opportunity to pursue recovery from addiction.

Participants can stay up to a year and participate in programming that helps them improve their health, relationships and skills to support their recovery and thrive in all areas of their lives.

This also comes on the heels of a report from the government’s substance use surveillance system, which saw 62 deaths per 100,000 Albertans in April, or 179, the highest number of deaths in a month.

Calgary and Edmonton comprised almost two-thirds of all deaths that month, with 76 from Calgary and 47 from Edmonton.

In addition, across the country, more than 7,300 Canadians died of opioid poisoning according to Health Canada – an average of 20 per day.

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The United Conservative Party campaigned on an addiction recovery platform, which included the Compassionate Care Act, a controversial involuntary treatment program which would be the first of its kind in Canada.

At the time, the Opposition NDP accused Premier Danielle Smith of lying about the success of drug treatments while “six Albertans were dying every day.”

The party said Smith claimed “great progress” on drug poisonings before and during the election campaign and told Albertans her chief of staff was a national leader on the issue.

-With files from Lauryn Heintz and Jillian Code

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