LCO begins new culture-centered program to tackle addiction and - KBJR 6 Your Weather Authority: News, Weather & Sports

LCO begins new culture-centered program to tackle addiction and mental illness

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According to Lac Courte Oreilles tribal governing board member, Tweed Shuman, mental illness and substance abuse has plagued the community for as long as he can remember. Now he's hoping for a homegrown solution.

"We're taking steps now to finally get this contained and help people," he said. 

Those steps include securing state funds to start LCO's own Comprehensive Community Services program.

"We like it that it's on our reservation and that we're talking to our people about our problems and I think us helping each other is one of the fastest and best ways to heal," he said.

The director of CCS Marie Basty explained the program it comes down to individualized treatment based on listening.

"We talk with the customer about what their needs are what their desires are and we work with them based on what they need," she said.

Another difference is the cultural and spiritual component to the program.

Tribal board member Rosalie Gokee hopes that aspect of the treatment connects to tribal members in a way other programs haven't.

"I think that's really important to our members here," she said. "They have a connection to their tribe, a connection to tradition, a connection to healing and wellness."

The program is currently working out of a temporary building but Basty said later this month they'll start developing plans for a new one. 

She said they wanted to open the center before those plans began though to jumpstart the process of serving the community.

The program is open to any tribal members, including those outside the LCO tribe.

Two other Wisconsin tribes have CCS programs. Lac du Flambeau has had one for about two years, while Red Cliff started just a month earlier.

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