Inuvik Twin Lakes
Thank you, Mr. Speaker. One of our priorities for this government is to increase the number and variety of culturally respectful community-based mental health and addictions programs, including after-care for our residents. While we do have some programming available to our residents, I think there is a disconnect from what we our currently doing to what our people actually need and are asking for. For example, we have specialized treatment facilities that residents can be sent to out of the territory, which is an option for those who need this treatment. We also currently have some Indigenous groups providing on-the-land programs. However, there needs to be a gateway program that allows more people to seek help.
Mr. Speaker, often it is difficult for people with addictions to navigate the system to access out-of-territory addictions treatment. For on-the-land, some can't just jump up and leave out on the land for one to two weeks, because they may suffer from withdrawals or other physical or mental health conditions when going through withdrawals. Unfortunately, our current programs don't allow, for some of our residents, a safe gateway to enter into some of our longer-term programs. As a result, our people in need continue to suffer.
We need gateway programs like the Arctic Indigenous Wellness program in Inuvik, in the Beaufort Delta, in all of the regional areas throughout the Northwest Territories. We need GNWT to sit down with our communities and Indigenous groups to deal with and come up with options to deal with gaps in services that I've mentioned. We need the GNWT addiction counsellors to have outreach offices to engage and to get to know the residents who currently reside in the shelters and for those who are struggling with their addiction because going into a facility is not always the right answer for everyone.
This current system is not one Indigenous people trust, and therefore they don't access assistance. We must do better to build a relationship between our mental health and addictions counsellors and our residents who need it the most. We have to change the way we do things, as it is obvious it hasn't been working the way the service is being provided now. Status quo is no longer acceptable when we are losing our family members. Our family members are becoming victims and hostages to the drugs and alcohol in our communities. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.