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Navajo Nation moves forward with detox centers

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WINDOW ROCK, Ariz. – The Navajo Nation Fiscal Recovery Fund Office and the Office of Management and Budget have notified the Navajo Nation Division of Behavioral and Mental Health Services that funding through the American Rescue Plan Act is now available for the development of detox and residential treatment/rehabilitation centers to provide support for members of the Navajo Nation who struggle with drug and alcohol addiction.

Currently, the Division of Behavioral and Mental Health Services administers nine outpatient treatment centers in Chinle, Ariz., Dilkon, Ariz., Fort Defiance, Ariz., Kaibeto, Ariz., Kayenta, Ariz., Newlands, Ariz.,  Red Mesa, Ariz., Tuba City, Ariz., Crownpoint, Gallup, and Shiprock, Ariz. There is only one residential treatment center located in Shiprock.  Approximately $19 million is allocated to develop the centers in Shiprock, Chinle, Kayenta, and Tuba City, and transitional housing facilities in Fort Defiance and Kayenta.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has taken a toll on the physical, mental, and spiritual well-being of many people around the world and here on the Navajo Nation. With the funding that the Navajo Nation received through the American Rescue Plan Act, Navajo Department of Health Executive Director Dr. Jill Jim prioritized the development of transitional housing and detox centers that will be able to help our people who are struggling with addiction and mental health issues while keeping them closer to home. The plan and funding are in place and we will soon have these centers within our communities,” Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez said.

Nez also commended the Division of Behavioral and Mental Health Services for using its limited resources to expand its residential and outpatient treatment services and establish detox programs, which includes traditional healing. Many of the people who are in need of residential treatment services are referred to facilities off the Navajo Nation. Nez said the goal is to provide treatment services within Navajo communities.

“It takes a united effort and many partnerships to build upon what our past leaders have done for our communities to help our people. We have outpatient services available right now and one residential center, but our vision is to expand those services to ensure that more of our people are able to heal here at home,” Nez said.

Nez acknowledged how hard it can be to overcome addiction, because he himself has experienced it.

“I know firsthand the hardships and challenges of overcoming alcohol addiction. Overcoming addiction is a process that requires continuous support, encouragement, and patience. Through prayer and the support of others, I now live a life based on sobriety and faith. If I can do it, I know others can,” Nez said.

Staff Reports