September 28, 2017

Udall, Heinrich, Luján Announce $1.5 Million for NCI in Gallup for Substance Use Treatment and Shelter

Udall, Heinrich, Luján Announce $1.5 Million for NCI in Gallup for Substance Use Treatment and Shelter

WASHINGTON —Today, U.S. Senators Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich, and U.S. Representative Ben Ray Luján announced that $1.5 million in funding from the Indian Health Service (IHS) will be awarded to the city of Gallup to fund the Na'Nizhoozhi Center Inc. (NCI) to help expand treatment services for substance use and provide shelter in the area.

NCI offers a desperately needed social detox program, but it has struggled to find stable funding and has run the risk of closing. The Center is not an IHS facility, but is the only detox facility serving the population in the rural community adjacent to the Navajo Nation and Pueblo of Zuni, and 85 percent of the clients are members of federally recognized Tribes. Udall, Heinrich and Luján have partnered with the Gallup community and IHS to help find viable federal funding options that will enable NCI to stay open, especially in the winter months. Udall, Heinrich and Luján have met with the IHS director and other federal officials to discuss future funding options. And in 2016, IHS provided emergency funds to help keep NCI open. After lawmakers were able to secure additional funding for IHS in fiscal year 2017, the city of Gallup submitted a successful application to enter into a cooperative agreement with IHS funded at $1.5 million to continue NCI’s work and improve the capacity of the center to provide treatment.

"This funding will help IHS provide resources and work collaboratively with NCI so it can continue serving the community with its life-saving services, and also build capacity, offer more addiction services, and provide a safe place off the street," said Udall, a senior member of the Appropriations Committee who championed the funding as the lead Democrat on the subcommittee that oversees the IHS budget. "We all have the same goal: to prevent a public health crisis, particularly in the winter months when people are most at risk. The issues facing NCI and the community are complex, but it is clear the services it provides are vitally important and literally save lives. We will continue working with IHS, NCI, Tribes and local officials in Gallup to find solutions and improve access to services, shelter and treatment for Tribal communities in need."

"As someone who once worked in McKinley County, I have witnessed firsthand the tragic consequences of substance abuse in Gallup. I have grieved each winter when lives have been lost due to alcohol and cold temperatures at night," said Heinrich. “I am grateful for the professionals at Na'Nizhoozhi Center Inc., the only detoxification center in the area. They are on the front lines working to help our neighbors struggling with addiction. For far too long, sporadic funding sources have threatened to close NCI’s doors, leaving the community without lifesaving services. This funding will help provide much-needed financial stability and ensure that critical care remains available."

"We are all too familiar with the devastating impact that alcohol and substance abuse has had on friends and neighbors— it’s torn families apart, robbed people of a bright future, and taken the lives of far too many," said Luján. "This funding will provide resources to NCI so it can continue play an important role in the community. I look forward to continuing to work with tribal leaders and local officials to address the challenges we face in Gallup and the Navajo Nation."