McKinley County, New Mexico, is the namesake of the assassinated 25 U.S. President William McKinley. Many locals, particularly those Native Americans of Navajo decent living on reservations, have also been the victim of assassination, but in character in addition to physical attacks. Three decades ago Gallup, New Mexico, which borders on the Navajo Reservation, was known as Drunk Town, USA.For many years Northwest New Mexicos Gallup ranked No. 1 nationally in the number of alcohol-related deaths. This reputation also killed many residents spirits, contributing to addiction, joblessness and homelessness, further highlighting the need for behavioral health care in this region. Native American youth have the highest rates of alcoholism of any racial group in the country, according to the National Institutes of Health.Despite the drumbeat of bad news and discouraging statistics, organizations such as Gallups Na Nihzhoozhi Center Inc. (NCI) has 26,000 admissions every year and is the nations busiest treatment center with many repeat customers. The detox center was the result of an effort 30 years ago which began when more than 5,000 people marched from Gallup to Santa Fe to demand assistance from state lawmakers and received $400,000 for a study to build a detoxification center. The hospital then received a $2 million ongoing yearly federal grant out of which NCI was born.The leader of that effort in the 80s and 90s was David Conejo who returned in 2014 as the CEO of Rehoboth McKinley Christian Health Care Services (RMCHCS). When he became CEO of RMCHS a few years ago, he took a financially failing hospital and turned it around with the help of William Kiefer, PhD, who is the hospitals COO. Recognizing the root cause of the regions health problem was addiction, Conejo revitalized a former rehab building on the hospitals grounds and with some fundraising he launched the Behavioral Health Treatment Center.

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