June 18th, 2024

Blood Tribe Department of Health responds to allegations

By Tim Kalinowski on June 12, 2021.

LETHBRIDGE HERALDtkalinowski@lethbridgeherald.com

The Blood Tribe Department of Health is addressing criticisms made by community members at a rally in Standoff held earlier this week over its handling of the opioid crisis, and is denying specific allegations of drug dealing going on at Bringing the Spirit Home Detox Centre.
“The Blood Tribe Department of Health has been made aware of certain allegations made to the media on June 9, 2021 relating to overdose deaths in the Blood Tribe Community,” a statement released late Thursday reads. “The Department of Health recognizes the important voice of our community members in trying to address the addiction crisis facing our community and communities across Canada.
“However, the suggestion that drug dealing takes place at Bringing the Spirit Home is inaccurate and we are disappointed that community members would make such an allegation when this could not be further from the truth.”
The Department of Health says the detox centre is in compliance with all regulations.
“Bringing the Spirit Home is a licensed facility that complies with strict regulations to ensure the health and safety of its clients,” the statement goes on to say. “The facility operates with detailed policies and procedures. If there was ever any evidence that a staff member or patient was selling drugs in the facility, it would be dealt with immediately. This would include reporting the matter to police, or any other applicable authorities.”
The Herald spoke with the Blood Tribe Police Service about any potential investigations pertaining to drugs going on at the Bringing the Spirit Home Detox Centre. Community Policing Division Acting Inspector Rayan Najjar says the BTPS has responded to “multiple occurrences” at the detox centre for a variety of different reasons, but only one of those calls for service was related to allegations of drugs being trafficked at the site in the past year.
“That was the one file that was reported to us,” he confirms. “All the other cases, we responded about 58 times based on our stats in the last year for a variety of different concerns, but that was the only time where there were allegations of drugs being brought in.”
In that instance, he says, it was determined by investigators there was insufficient evidence to proceed with charges.
Najjar also confirms his officers have not been called in to investigate any other allegations of drug trafficking occurring at the detox centre since that time, and there are no current open investigations related to drug trafficking going at the detox centre.
The Lethbridge Herald also sought comment from the office of Associate Minister of Mental Health and Addictions Jason Luan, who has announced funding for a 75-bed unit expansion at Bringing the Spirit Home Detox Centre, if the Minister is satisfied these allegations pertaining to drug trafficking have been thoroughly explored, investigated and dealt with? And that the detox centre is fully accountable and compliant with his office’s expectations should the funding go ahead as planned?
“Alberta’s government has no comment at this time,” said the Minister’s press secretary Justin Marshall in a response released to The Herald Friday morning.
The Blood Tribe Department of Health, which administers the Kainai Wellness Centre, also rejects accusations from its former employee, Roger Prairie Chicken, leveled during Wednesday’s rally that he was dismissed for speaking out about the housing crisis on the Blood Tribe First Nation.
“With respect to the assertion that a Department of Health employee was terminated for ‘speaking out’, this is not accurate,” the statement reads. “Human Resource matters are private and confidential and the Department of Health cannot comment on decisions related to matters of this nature.”
As for the broader criticisms leveled by community members on Wednesday that Blood Tribe leadership as a whole is not doing enough to combat the opioid crisis at the grassroots, the Department of Health says it is doing the best it can given the broad scope of the crisis.
“Our leadership and health professionals continue to work very hard to address this opioid and addictions crises and our frontline workers are exhausted but continue to work over and above to combat this continuing crisis,” the statement reads: “by dealing directly with emergencies, creating a task force, involving families and communities, implementing harm reduction measures, operating the life-saving detox centre and developing a 75-bed unit to deal with this crisis. We look forward to continuing to work with our community members to address this crisis.”

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[…] Read original article here […]

Dennis Bremner

And…………….. strangely you avoided the purpose of the complaint…are you altering numbers or rather “not keeping an accurate count of deaths”?

Citi Zen

Stop the funding until an audit is done.


The two other commentators are missing their third idiot to make the as per usual list.

Seth Anthony

Never mind the third idiot. Try focusing your attention on locating your third brain cell.


And he arrives as par for the course! I love how predictable ya’ll are lol

Seth Anthony

We’re predictable with solid objectional points and observations. You on the other hand, are predictable with child like emotional outbursts and personal attacks when objectivity disproves your biased (ex scs employee) opinions.

Last edited 3 years ago by Seth Anthony
pursuit diver

If anyone believes that there wasn’t anyone dealing drugs at that center, I have some beautiful property for sale with beach in the summer and ice in the winter, with no shortage of protein if you like to eat bugs! Beautiful Canadian land at its best! You will soon learn to love ‘muskeg’.
I personally saw a known dealer/pimp go into the Chinook Regional Hospital, meet a known prostitute in the cafeteria with a IV going in her arm, pass her something in a very suspicious manner, looking around prior, and then leave. I saw his vehicle outside and him slowly walking to the cafeteria and followed. That was just prior to COVID! If you really think these dealers want their addicts to get clean, then you really are clueless!
They don’t care about the addicts, they are their money tree! When they die they move on to another poor soul!
This is not a joke, it is not funny, addiction is not fun, it kills and it destroys families and it serious.
There is no difference than dealers waiting for their ‘clients’ they call friends when they get released from jail. They are there waiting with drugs in hand!
Just because police were not called to the treatment center, doesn’t mean it didn’t happen! Police often are met with walls of silence when investigating on indigenous communities. We need to take this seriously if we really want these treatment facilities and programs to resolve the issues we now have on our streets! Another note- if anyone thinks the gang leaders in these communities are all ‘young’ hardened criminals, think again! There are senior citizens involved, one I am aware of was professtional businessman at one time.
Or just through up our hands and allow our city to turn into another Vancouver Downtown Eastside gongshow, where they just don’t want to accept that the 4 pillars in their harm reduction plan is a complete and utter failure. If it truly work you wouldn’t see the increase every year for 18 years in every negative way, such as increases in fatal overdoses, numbers of addicts, crime homelessness, and on and on and on.
Lethbridge is finally on track, but at the beginning of a journey to take back our city. Treatment is the answer and if these people can’t feel protected while in these facilities, it will fail or take much longer.
The citizens of Lethbridge, not the province or Canada, have paid tens of millions of their tax dollars in the last 4 years because harm reduction failed! We also lost many lives that could have been saved!
We need to wake up and get back on track and right now Lethbridge and the province are taking the right steps, with Lethbridge seeing positive results from it’s no SCS approach and pushing for the drug courts, the treatment for mental health and addiction and a new police Chief that is willing to roll up his sleeves and get the job done that is needed.
We have a lot of positive things in the works and we just need to give it a chance. Lethbridge has already seen a dramatic change in fatal overdoses, numbers of addicts and crime.
Treatment centers need to be protected, the addicts need to be protected while they work on change!
One thing I have learned over the past few years, just because police were not called, doesn’t mean it never happened. People would be shocked if they really knew what happens in this city, including at the shelter, at the detox, in the parks. Police know!