New money for opioid addictions treatment in the NWT

A member of staff at the reception desk of Fort Resolution's health centre in June 2018
A member of staff at the reception desk of Fort Resolution's health centre in June 2018. Ollie Williams/Cabin Radio

The territorial and federal governments have jointly announced $760,000 in funding to improve access to opioid addictions treatment.

The funding, announced on Tuesday, will support opioid agonist therapy (using substances like methadone, with the aim of helping to prevent withdrawal), enhance healthcare workers’ knowledge and training, be used to identify treatment opportunities in communities outside Yellowknife, and allow the territory to hire more healthcare staff.

“Expanding our integrated and culturally safe opioid maintenance therapy program to smaller communities will help our residents struggling with addictions and provide them with an additional option for treatment,” said Glen Abernathy, the NWT’s minister of health, in a statement.

According to the Government of Canada, between January and June 2018 there was one apparent opioid-related death in the NWT.



The Government of the Northwest Territories is contributing just over $266,000 to the initiative, while the federal government is adding $500,000 from its emergency treatment fund.

That fund provides one-time funding to provinces and territories to help them “improve access to evidence-based treatment services.”

A spokesperson for the GNWT said the funding won’t be used for any on-the-land initiatives.

As part of the deal, the governments will publish their bilateral agreement online and the NWT will be required to submit an action plan and regular reports on progress.