Eastern Cherokees toughen drug laws and keep eye on treatment

Brandon Jones, the vice chairman of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians Tribal Council, speaks at the groundbreaking of the Snowbird Recovery Center on July 13, 2016. Photo by Cherokee Indian Hospital

Leaders of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians continue to address drug and substance abuse issues on their North Carolina reservation.

At a budget meeting on Tuesday, the tribal council approved legislation to impose additional fines on people who bring controlled substances into the community, The Cherokee One Feather reported. Chief Patrick Lambert said the civil penalties will apply to Indians and non-Indians alike.

"This impacts not just enrolled members," Lambert said at the meeting, The One Feather reported. "This impacts non-members and gives us a way, through civil penalties, a means to hit those people who are bringing drugs onto our Boundary."

The move comes after the tribe broke ground on the Snowbird Recovery Center. The $13.5 million facility will offer intensive rehabilitation services for those suffering from substance abuse.

“I’m living proof people can overcome addiction," Brandon Jones, the vice chairman of the tribal council, said during the groundbreaking on July 13, The Graham Star reported. Jones said he tried "every kind of drug" imaginable before getting help, the paper reported.

The 20-bed treatment center is expected to open in late 2017, The Cherokee One Feather reported.

Read More on the Story:
Tribe approves civil fines for drug possession (The Cherokee One Feather 8/2)
Tribe addresses drug problem (The Graham Star 7/21)
Tribe breaks ground on Treatment Center (The Cherokee One Feather 7/14)

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