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Nunavut Tunngavik Inc. to explore building a drug and alcohol treatment centre for Inuit

NR 03-23 TCE ENG Treatment Centre.doc

(November 4, 2003 — Sanikiluaq, Nunavut) The Nunavut Tunngavik Inc. (NTI) Board of Directors unanimously passed a resolution at their meeting in Sanikiluaq last night, Nov. 3, to study the feasibility of building an Inuit-owned drug and alcohol treatment centre for Inuit in Nunavut.

We deal with crises and problems created by drug and alcohol abuse every single day in Nunavut. Every day, a person’s life in this territory is forever changed because of the negative effects of addiction. We, as an Inuit organization, must take steps to bring this situation to an end, said NTI President Cathy Towtongie.

It is unacceptable to Inuit that Inuit suffering from substance abuse and its associated behavioural problems continue to be denied the standard of treatment available to other Canadians. We are in a state of crisis in Nunavut and while lesser problems are solved regularly, no steps are being taken to bring this epidemic of substance abuse to an end, President Towtongie said.

The resolution calls on NTI to work with the three Regional Inuit Associations, the regional Development Corporations, Atuqtuarvik Corporation, the Nunavut Trust and any other interested organizations, to explore the feasibility of building an Inuit-owned Nunavut-based treatment centre.

NTI is also directed to explore the feasibility of partnering with the Government of Nunavut and the Government of Canada on the building and operation of the proposed facility.

The resolution calls for the principal treatment centre to be built in one region of Nunavut, with an associated facility for assessment and follow-up care located in each of the other two regions. NTI’s Finance Committee will work with the Atuqtuarvik Corporation and the Nunavut Trust to identify means of financing the treatment centre.

Nunavut has been without its own treatment centre since 1998, when the territorial government closed the Inuusiqsiurvik treatment centre, located in Apex. Since then, residents have been sent outside the territory for all addictions treatment. The GN has said they plan to develop a territorial treatment centre, but finding the necessary funding is difficult. The NTI resolution suggests a partnership between the GN and NTI will make such a centre more feasible.

NTI First Vice president James Eetoolook commended the board on the resolution. This is the most important thing NTI could do since signing the Nunavut Land Claims Agreement in 1993, said Eetoolook.

For further information:
Kerry McCluskey
Director of Communications
Nunavut Tunngavik Inc.
(867) 266-8243