Feds boost Red Lake efforts to fight opioid abuse
A large set of federal loans will help a northwestern Minnesota Indian tribe deal with the opioid epidemic, as well as infrastructure needs.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Community Facilities program approved nearly $13 million to fund four projects at Red Lake.
The money will help the Red Lake Nation construct a $4.95 million chemical dependency treatment center, a $2.2 million fire hall in Ponemah, with a "training room, decontamination space, and enough space to house the Department's fleet of trucks under one roof," the USDA said. Other loans will go to a $2.8 million fire station in the City of Red Lake and a $3 million dialysis center.
Gene McArthur, Red Lake's jobs and community development facilitator, said the upgrades will improve essential services for the tribe's 12,000 members.
"It'll sure help enhance the quality of services and address a lot of the problems that we are having here in our community," he said, "so we're doggone excited about it."
Among those problems is opioid abuse, making the state-of-the-art drug treatment center especially needed in the community, McArthur said.
The center will have 16 beds, along with meeting rooms and visiting areas.
"It's something that they've needed for a long time where our buildings are pretty ancient, pretty antiquated," McArthur said.
He added the new facilities wouldn't be possible without the direct loans from the USDA.
The agency has awarded more than $553.5 million in loans, loan guarantees and grants to tribes and tribal nations since 2009 for facilities upgrades or new construction.
Construction on the Red Lake projects is slated to begin next year.