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Law and Order Committee receives report on proposed detox treatment centers

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WINDOW ROCK, ARIZ. — The 25th Navajo Nation Council’s Law and Order Committee received updates from the Navajo Nation Department of Corrections regarding the possibility of transforming the Chinle Youth Corrections Center into an alcohol detox and treatment facility May 15. According to the report, there is a high number of individuals arrested for public intoxication, and a treatment center would help curb the numbers of crimes related to alcohol and drugs and provide support for addiction and substance abuse.

The report indicates that in 2021, 25,000 arrests were made, and 12,000 were for public intoxication. In an effort to address the high number of crimes related to alcohol, the Navajo Division of Public Safety entered into an MOU with Four Corners Detox and Treatment Services in October. Reportings of 400 plus Navajo people voluntarily signed up for treatment, but none actually entered the facility and began their treatment.

“We know several detox and rehabilitation centers are needed on the Nation and we also know more resources should be devoted to making it happen," LOC Chair  said.

She did acknowledge the facility that currently exists in Shiprock, Ariz.

"Although a facility currently exists in Shiprock, [Ariz.,] there is no money for manpower," Charles-Newton explained.

She then went into detail about what it would take to a working facility running in Arizona.

"Getting a facility up in Arizona will require the LOC to sit down with the Bureau of Indian Affairs-Office of Justice Services to discuss the possibility of the conversion of the Chinle Youth Corrections Center into an alcohol detox and treatment facility. Not only does permission need to be obtained by the Nation, but LOC and HEHSC need to work together to identify funds needed for renovation, operation and maintenance, manpower, and much more. I hope we can come together and  come up with a working plan to help those who are ready to help themselves," Charles-Newton said.

Dr. Delores Greyeyes, Director of the Department of Corrections, blamed part of the reason a facility has not been started n Arizona yet on the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Dr. Michelle Brandser and the Healthcare Administrator with the Department of Behavioral Mental Health Services took a tour of the Chinle Youth facility to assess its suitability for conversion and were hopeful. Unfortunately, the project was halted by the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. We were also informed that the BIA-OJS said the facility needed to be used for its intended purpose and nothing more," Greyeyes explained.

The Navajo Nation Council previously approved $19 million through the American Rescue Plan Act to develop detox and residential treatment/rehabilitation centers in the communities of Shiprock, Chinle, Ariz., Kayenta, Ariz., and Tuba City, Ariz., and transitional housing facilities in Fort Defiance, Ariz. and Kayenta.The Law and Order Committee will continue to discuss the development of the alcohol and detox treatment facilities and work with Office of the President and Vice President to move the projects forward.