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Advocates say rehab center scams targeting Diné Bikéyah


Advocates say Natives in northern Arizona are allegedly being targeted by “recruiters” from “trauma and addiction treatment” and “behavioral health” centers in the Valley.

Addiction treatment recruiters are allegedly promising Natives a place to stay for food or money in exchange. However, when individuals get there, the environment is the complete opposite.

Reva Stewart, a Drumbeat Indian Arts store employee, said she witnessed an apparent recruiter trying to get a Native person off the street and was curious about how they were recruiting.

Soon after the suspicion was raised around the recruiters, one of Stewart’s family members, a woman she did not want to name, went missing, and she was told to keep an eye out for her in the Valley.

“What had happened was she was down here (Phoenix Valley), and she was picked up in Farmington under false pretensions that she would be going home the next day,” Stewart said.

Stewart’s family member said when she arrived at the alleged treatment center, there was alcohol. When she woke up the next day, the facilitators wanted personal information that she was uncomfortable providing.

Without the personal information, the woman was pushed out the door with a city bus ticket for the day and questioned, “How am I going to get back to New Mexico?”
When Stewart checked on her family member, the facilitators looked under the influence of drugs, and when she asked, the facilitators had her take a pill.

“I don’t know if they gave her a Fentanyl pill or something,” Stewart said. “She was so confused and under the influence of something. When she told me what happened, it was like putting a puzzle together, like this is what’s going on.”

Read the full story in the May 11 edition of the Navajo Times.

About The Author

Kianna Joe

Kianna Joe is Bit’ahnii and born for Kinyaa’áanii. She was born in Gallup. She received first place for best editorial in the student division for the 2022 National Media Awards. She is now an intern for the Navajo Times, covering matters in the Phoenix Valley while attending school at Arizona State University.


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