The Nak’azdli Whut’en First Nation Band office in Fort St. James. File photo

Nak’azdli Health Centre to receive $75,000 grant to fight overdose crisis

The grant will allow organization to introduce new programs for addicts and their families

The Nak’azdli Health Centre will receive a $75,000 grant from the Community Overdose Crisis Innovation Fund.

The health centre was announced as a recipient by the B.C. government on Friday, Oct. 12.

Mary Knowles, the Nak’azdli health director, says the funds will go toward strengthening the families and the community of those with addictions. “We’re going to be bringing in some programs that have been shown to have some really good results.”

One of these programs is called “Returning to Spirit” and it works with those with addictions to consider the things that have caused the addictions. She says while it doesn’t place blame, it does address the effects of colonization and the genetics “of what’s happened, of what trauma is,” she explains.

“So people can see themselves standing in that, and then make clearer choices for themselves.”

The other program is intended to help strengthen the community of those with addictions. “We’re going to be partnering with the local police, with the local health authority, and ourselves in supporting in home visits, and [creating] sort of like an outreach team.”

The team will be a community action team, and she says it will bring necessary resources to those looking for help with their addiction, as well as those looking for help to support their addicted loved ones. Knowles adds the team will be comprised of people with lived experience with addictions.

“At the end of the day, what we’re hoping to do is have a referral system that all of the public service providers in the area can help people that have addiction disorders, and we want to also have a system of home visits and follow-ups for those people,” says Knowles.

“More importantly,” she says, “we’re creating a safe community for people working through their addictions.”

The grant is part of a two-stream process administered by the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) and Community Action Initiative (CAI), which aims to provide resources for targeted overdose prevention initiatives in affected communities around B.C.

The CMHA is distributing the grants in collaboration with the B.C. Ministries of Health and of Mental Health and Addictions.

The Community Overdose Crisis Innovation Fund is part of the province’s three-year, $322-million investment to address the overdose crisis in B.C.

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