Pasloski touts land based treatment program

The Yukon government has committed $1 million over the next five years to help operate a land-based treatment centre for residents struggling with addictions.

The Yukon government has committed $1 million over the next five years to help operate a land-based treatment centre for residents struggling with addictions.

The Kwanlin Dun First Nation has run such a camp at Jackson Lake since the summer of 2010. Last fall, the First Nation asked for an annual operating budget of $2.8 million – far more than what’s on offer now.

But Pasloski reckons that, if the Yukon’s First Nation chiefs play their cards right, they could secure funding for the project from Ottawa. He’ll broach the matter with chiefs during the Yukon forum’s meeting next month.

“I’m looking for them to say, ‘We’d support the idea of a single, land-based treatment program,’ with the goal of working with Canada to make it into one of these institutions that people are now sent Outside to, to receive treatment,” Pasloski said in an interview.

He’s already spoken about the project to federal Health Minister Leona Aglukkaq, “who was quite interested in this concept,” said Pasloski.

The premier doesn’t expect his government to run the land-based treatment program. It would remain controlled by First Nations.

But Pasloski envisions a program that’s “bigger and more organized than it is.”

The Kwanlin Dun’s existing program isn’t federally accredited, said Pasloski. For it to be eligible for federal funds, it would have to be.

A bigger program may attract clients from Outside, he said. That makes Jackson Lake an ideal location because it’s close to the Whitehorse airport.

John Edzerza, a Yukon Party MLA who died of cancer in November, was a longtime advocate of creating a land-based treatment centre to help First Nation residents struggling with addictions.

“This is an important step of what we need to do as a territory,” said Pasloski.

Contact John Thompson at

johnt@yukon-news.com

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