North Winds re-proposes addiction recovery center in Pouce Coupe

“That facility saved my life,” said Davis, who intends to work at the Peace Haven facility when it opens.

The former site of Peace Haven is being reconsidered for a 40-unit addictions and recovery treatment facility, with the potential to add another 120 units, using a unique blend of indigenous centered healing and western medicine.

North Winds Healing Center Executive Director Isaac Hernandez met with Pouce Coupe council on March 16, asking them to consider issuing a building permit for the project, explaining the vision and planning behind the new facility.

“The goal is to bring the full continuum of care of addiction services under one roof,” said Hernandez. “This will benefit participants not to fall through the cracks of a fragmented system of care but receive continuity and support for better chances of success.”

Their current center has open since 1996, operating a 10-bed facility in Farmington, providing six weeks of in-patient addictions treatment programming, said Hernandez, who noted while they’ve always been rooted in indigenous healing and culture, they help anyone who needs aid.

“We encourage them to work with their inner selves, and it’s really a metamorphosis, an internal change, but it reflects on the outside,” Hernandez said.

Around 150 people use the in-patient program each year, with another 3,000 accessing their day programs – boasting a success rate of 83 percent.

The new facility is a collaboration planned between North Winds, Kwantlen Polytechnic University (KPU), Northern Lights College (NLC), and developer Street to Home, with a trauma-informed recovery model in mind, all contained in a two-storey building.

KPU would provide an indigenous garden and animal husbandry on site for patients to take part in, while NLC would offer trades training to help build employment skills, said Hernandez.

Saulteau First Nations member and Pouce Coupe resident Clayton Davis attended the council meeting, and says the Farmington facility saved his life, with plans to pursue a bachelor’s degree in social work at UNBC.

“I created my own recovery plan, based on the medicine wheel ideology, which is First Nations holistic healing and a well-balanced lifestyle,” he said. “While I was there, I was able to go to school at Northern Lights College, and will be graduating shortly this year, with my social worker’s diploma.”

He says the success of the program can be attributed to the help with the inward work, being close to home, and addressing trauma; support he needed to work through his addictions to drug and alcohol.

“That facility saved my life,” said Davis, who intends to work at the Peace Haven facility when it opens.

Leonard Hiebert, Peace River Regional District Director for Area D also attended the meeting, speaking highly of what a larger facility could do for the region as a whole.

“To get this many organizations involved, it has to be a positive in the end. Otherwise they wouldn’t be here if they didn’t see a benefit,” he said, noting the rarity of the collaboration.

Tom Summer, Alaska Highway News, Local Journalism Initiative. Email Tom at tsummer@ahnfsj.ca

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