Navajo Nation To Take Over Gallup Detox Center

Jul 24, 2013

A client of Na'Nizhoozhi Center, Inc., better known as NCI, walks to the entrance where he will spend the night.
Credit Donovan Quintero

The largest detoxification center in New Mexico is scheduled to close and reopen under a new name and management: The Navajo Nation.

The Na'Nizhoozhi Center, Inc., served nearly 24,000 people in 2012 and averaged between 75 and 100 intakes per day.

Considering the small population of Gallup, that's a lot of people. But the Northwestern New Mexico town is considered a border town, because it borders the Navajo Nation. NCI serves residents from the entire Four Corners area, with 40 percent of its clientele referred from Arizona, and a majority of services provided to Navajo Tribal members.

The center lost much of its public and private funding and will have to scale back its services.

Navajo Nation spokesman Erny Zah said written agreements for transfer of the center are forthcoming between the Nation and the City of Gallup, which currently manages NCI.

“They have contracts with the necessary staff to run a detox facility, and during that time, the Navajo Nation is going to compose a plan,” said Zah. “We're going to compose a plan, and implement a plan that essentially has the Navajo Nation running the detox facility.”

With the takeover, Zah said NCI will lose its treatment services, but still provide a safe medical home for inebriates to sober up.