(PUBLISHER’S NOTE: All the MLA candidates were asked to comment on the best way forward for the sobering centre in Yellowknife. Go here to see the full question and context.)

We have had treatment centres in the North in the past, which were not successful.

Gaeleen MacPherson MLA candidate for Yellowknife South

Despite this, I feel it is imperative that we return to having a bricks and mortar facility here in the North that doesn’t just provide addictions services, but offers mental health supports that focus on addressing the core issues that are resulting in so many of our Northerners turning to drugs and alcohol to deal.

Whether this is residential school experiences or family wellness issues, not treating the core of the issue will not result in lasting results.  Secondly, the treatment facility must also provide after-care treatment that focuses on offering transitional services including housing, work readiness and health and wellbeing programs.

It is important that individuals are set up for success before we return them to environments that could cause relapse.  Overarching all of these programs is ensuring we are offering these services in a manner that acknowledges and includes the cultural and traditional beliefs of the people of the North, including on-the-land programming and programs where Elders help in the healing process.

Our social issues are growing; all we need to do is drive or walk through our downtown to realize that a different approach is required.  Given the opportunity to represent Yellowknife as one of its MLAs, I would advocate for a treatment facility to be built in the North.

Bruce Valpy

Bruce Valpy is former Publisher/CEO of NNSL Media. He can be reached at 1-867-445-2040

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