The Navajo Nation

Office of the President

     The Navajo Nation

Office of the President

President Nygren speaks at a treatment center in Farmington 

FARMINGTON — Money cannot buy sobriety. 

But it can help keep addiction treatment centers that are dependent on funding open. 

Navajo Nation President Buu Nygren attended a check presentation ceremony at the Totah Behavioral Health Authority, a facility that treats substance abuse and mental health using Indigenous traditional healing practices, sobering services, crisis shelter services, long-term inpatient treatment in our joint intervention program, as well western behavioral health practices. 

President Nygren, a guest speaker at the presentation, became emotional while speaking of his mother on Monday morning in Farmington. 

The President said perhaps his mother Charlotte Slim Toney, who died five days before his birthday in 2020, of alcoholism, would have benefited from the treatment center. 

“There is nothing that I would love to do than to advocate for these champions that exist,” the President said while explaining he could help the facility while he’s president.

He went on to share how he understood as a family member of feeling helpless and the questions of what could have been done. 

“I’ve asked her a few times, ‘Mom, can you go in there and do this or give that a shot?’” he shared. “And being completely helpless, too. I ask myself, ‘What if my mom had a second chance? What if my mom could have been introduced here?’ It’s a little too late.”

The treatment center, which opened its doors in 2001, has become one of the centers in San Juan County that have been at the forefront of helping people battle their addictions and maintain their sobriety. It serves about 150 clients a month. 

It offers programs that help its clients take the first steps to overcome their addiction. 

Another program called the Joint Intervention Program targets people who frequently are incarcerated because of their addiction problems. 

Clients of the treatment center also receive lodging during treatment and aftercare. In addition, they are privy to legal advocacy, with six days of programming per week.

The 40-bed facility accepts men and women over the age of 18 and is considered a “front door” to intervention programs.

In 2018, according to Totah Behavioral Health Authority, the intervention program decreased arrests by 53 percent, days spent in jail by 56 percent, emergency room visits by 64 percent, and fire department responses by 84 percent.

Before concluding his speech, President Nygren said the treatment center’s management to continue helping people battle their addictions. 

“Continue the good work, continue to help our people, continue to help and advocate for them,” he said. “It’s dear to my heart because I’ve seen it; I’ve seen a lot of my relatives about my age — their lives are no longer here with us just because of that.”

After his speech, a $25,000 check was donated to the treatment center by Molina Healthcare, followed by a tour of the facility. 

Totah Behavioral Health Authority is a service operating under Presbyterian Medical Services headquartered out of Santa Fe.