Health Minister shuts the door on NWT-based treatment centre

"The simple reason that we don't have a treatment centre is because they don't work. We have tried four times," said Julie Green

"The simple reason that we don't have a treatment centre is because they don't work," said Minister of Health and Social Services Julie Green. (Ian Down)

The Northwest Territories will not be getting its own addiction treatment centre any time soon.

That’s according to the territory’s Minister of Health and Social Services.

During a sitting of the Legislative Assembly on Thursday, October 20, Monfwi MLA Jane Weyallon Armstrong asked Minister Julie Green if she would commit to creating an NWT-based addictions facility.

Green responded with one word: “No.”

“The simple reason that we don’t have a treatment centre is because they don’t work,” said Green earlier in the discussion. “We have tried four times. The effort to provide one treatment centre for all the regions, languages, and cultures hasn’t been successful; people don’t attend. And what we found is by giving people options, they attend in greater numbers than they ever have when we had a facility in the NWT.”

Last month, Green said the GNWT would convene discussions to revisit the issue of a Northern Treatment Centre.

The last treatment centre in the Northwest Territories was closed in 2013. Weyallon Armstrong asked Minister Green how many drug and alcohol-related injuries and deaths the territory had seen since then. Green was not immediately able to provide that data.

In 2017, the costs of substance abuse, including treatment and criminal justice costs, were higher for residents of the NWT than for residents of any other jurisdiction except Nunavut, according to Canadian Substance Use Costs and Harms. That year, the consequences of addiction cost the territory more than $4,000 per capita.

About the Author

Ian Down
Ian Down is a general news reporter from the West Island of Montreal. After studying journalism and computer science at Concordia University, he came to Yellowknife in 2021, joining the CKLB team in September 2022. When not behind his desk, you can find him at a local Yellowknife poetry reading, or annoying his roommates by playing his clarinet at odd hours. Feel free to reach out with any tips or story ideas at, or follow him on Twitter at @IanDown1996.