BETHEL (AP) -- A $3.1 million inhalant abuse treatment center has opened in Bethel.
Dedication ceremonies for the McCann Treatment Center were held Aug. 31. The center houses the Tundra Swan Inhalant Treatment program, which is operated by the Yukon-Kuskokwim Health Corp. Funding for the center came from the federal Health Resources Services Administration.
The center will eventually serve 16 adolescents from throughout Alaska who have become addicted to inhalants such as gasoline and hairspray.
The Bethel center is one of just four such centers in the United States. The others are located in Texas, South Dakota and New Mexico.
The 16-week program at the center will offer formal counseling, school and group therapy sessions.
The center is named for Bethel elder Billy McCann who approached Sen. Frank Murkowski about the problem of inhalant abuse in rural Alaska. McCann shared the story of his grandson, who became addicted to huffing gas.
As a result of that encounter, Murkowski worked to get funding for the center and has also worked to bring national attention to the problem of inhalant abuse.
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