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LDF To Build Substance Abuse Treatment Center

Natalie Jablonski

Lac du Flambeau broke ground on a new treatment center for substance abuse and mental illness today.  The tribe will be the first in Wisconsin to build this kind of facility. 

Community members, state officials and tribal leaders braved the day’s chill for a ground breaking ceremony on the shores of Lake Pokegama. 

“We’re celebrating the ground-breaking of a new treatment center, with the expectations that it will be build sometime between now and spring. This will allow 20 beds, with potential expansion of 20 additional beds at some point in time.”

That’s AJ Ernst, Director of Human Services for Lac du Flambeau.  He explains that the new 8-thousand square foot treatment facility will help fill a gap in the care options that are offered on the reservation. 

“This gives us a continuity of care – so people can go from most need, to least need based on their level of recovery.”

Right now the tribe offers longer term sober housing, but doesn’t have a facility that addresses the more acute stages of addiction and recovery.  In Ryan Champagne, State of Emergency Facilitator for Lac du Flambeau, says the treatment center will be the only one in the state run by a tribe. 

“If you go to an Indian Health Services Center, they would have to go up to the U.P., or all the way out to the Dakotas. So to be able to have a center right here within Waaswagoning, it’s not only going to help our community but other tribal communities, and the community in general.”

Champagne says plans call for a staff position of “Peacemaker” to provide spiritual healing and teach traditional skills like wild rice harvesting.  The tribe partnered with the state Departments of Health, Corrections, and Children and Families in the planning of the facility.    

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