Grand opening planned for new substance abuse treatment center in Eklutna

Tuesday, July 31, 2018 - 12:01

A new treatment center designed to treat substance abuse and mental illness patients will hold a ribbon-cutting and open house ceremony on Thursday, Aug. 2 in Eklutna.

The new Ernie Turner Cener is a 11,526-square-foot center near Eklutna Village. The center was built through a partnership between Cook Inlet Tribal Council and Eklutna, Inc. Located on a six-acre tract of land, the center includes 16 beds, an arts and crafts area, a carving room and a fitness center. The grounds also include a therapeutic sweat lodge, according to a press release announcing the open house Tuesday.

“The center will serve all individuals with addictions and/or mental health disorders recommended for inpatient treatment, as well as those experiencing chronic homelessness related to substance use,” reads the press release.

Participants in the center’s program will stay there for six months while they receive mental health and substance abuse counseling through the Therapeutic Village of Care model, according to the release.

“Influenced by the traditional hierarchy of an Alaska Native village, the model promotes long-term recovery success where residents serve as facilitators and fulfill distinctive traditional roles in a peer-to-peer structure,” reads the release. “In the village philosophy, sobriety involves the whole person, and spiritual needs are a critical part of an individual’s recovery. Through daily work therapy, participants gain valuable skills for independent living.”

The open house will be held from 2 to 4 p.m. at the center, which is located at 30881 Eklutna Lake Road. The event will include welcoming remarks from CITC president and CEO Gloria O’Neill and a blessing from Dena’ina elder Claire Swan. Other dignitaries schedule to speak include CITC board chair Ivan Encelewski, Native Village of Eklutna president Aaron Leggett, Anchorage Mayor Ethan Berkowitz, Southcentral Foundation president and CEO Katherine Gottlieb, Eklutna Inc. CEO Curtis McQueen, Cook Inlet Housing Authority VP of development and project management Mark Fineman, CITC director of recovery servicese Rebecca Ling and Ernie Turner Center chef and former participant Carvel Shade.

CITC said the center will serve as a “hub” for the group’s recovery work between Anchorage and the Mat-Su.

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