The File Hills Qu’Appelle Tribal Council is encouraging the Village of Fort San to support The Calling Lakes Centre in providing a temporary home for Pine Lodge Treatment Centre.

The Pine Lodge Treatment Centre was located in the community of Indian Head for more than 30 years until a fire last December forced its closure.

The Canadian Union of Public Employees which is representing nurses at the Pine Lodge Treatment Centre blamed the Mayor and Council of the Village of Fort San for delaying approval of the relocation.

“Treatment centres like Pine Lodge are needed now more than ever with mounting evidence that Saskatchewan is facing an addictions crisis,” explained Aimee Nadon, a national representative of CUPE.

FHQTC points out that the nationally accredited Leading Thunderbird Lodge- a culturally based, residential treatment program for First Nations and Inuit male youth from across Canada who are between 12-17 years old is already operating in Fort San.

The Tribal Council said the Lodge since opening in 1985 has a positive relationship with the community has helped hundreds of youth deal with their mental health challenges and addictions, while injecting millions of dollars into the community.

“We are very proud of the work Leading Thunderbird Lodge has done, and the achievements our facility has attained over the years. We have proven time and again that a treatment facility cannot only co-exist, but thrive in the community of Fort San with absolute minimal negative impact, and much greater positive contributions,” said Tribal Chief & CEO, and Leading Thunderbird Lodge Board Chair Edmund Bellegarde.

Preliminary data from the Coroner’s Service indicates that 36 people in the province are believed to have died from a drug overdose in January.

In 2020, 205 people are suspected in overdose deaths with 172 confirmed. 2020 could be the single deadliest year for overdose deaths.

“It is important to remember that it is easier to   provide prevention, and treatment services when individuals, whether youth or adult, are willingly undertaking residential treatment as they are aware of what they want and are starting their journey to recovery,” said Karen Main, Executive Director of Leading Thunderbird Lodges.

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