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Cook Inlet Tribal Council to expand Mat-Su outpatient drug treatment, sells detox facility to Southcentral Foundation

  • Author: Zaz Hollander
  • Updated: August 5, 2016
  • Published August 4, 2016

Southcentral Foundation President and CEO Katherine Gottlieb, left, and Cook Inlet Tribal Council President and CEO Gloria O’Neill announce plans to transfer control of the Ernie Turner Center from CITC to Southcentral, during the Alaska Wellness Summit at the Glenn Massay Theater on Thursday.  (Loren Holmes / Alaska Dispatch News)

Cook Inlet Tribal Council plans to expand outpatient drug treatment in Mat-Su, officials announced during a federal opioid summit at Mat-Su College Thursday in Palmer.

CITC CEO Gloria O'Neill also announced the sale of the Ernie Turner Center, a 14-bed detox facility, to Southcentral Foundation, already a partner at the center. Southcentral provides a physician assistant to staff the center.

There are no immediate changes expected at Ernie Turner, one of the few detox facilities in Alaska. Southcentral CEO Katherine Gottlieb said the next step is to find funding. CITC, a social services organization, had struggled to find qualified staff, officials said.

The closest detox option for Anchorage and Mat-Su has 50 people on its waitlist. Addicts ready to detox need to call in daily until a slot opens.

The Mat-Su announcement brings much-needed treatment services to an area hard hit by opioid addiction, officials say. CITC plans to partner with Knik and Chickaloon tribal organizations as well as Mat-Su Health Foundation.

The Chickaloon tribal health center has a behavioral health aide with chemical dependency training on staff already, according to Lisa Wade, village health and social services director. But the partnership will add a person to do assessment of patients seeking treatment and handle treatment of patients who need light support, Wade said.