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Monday, 10 July 2017

Native American Drug and Alcohol Treatment in the USA

Drug and alcohol addiction impacts the Native American/Alaskan Native reservations and people throughout the US with so many people unable to get the right help for their addictions. A report published in the National Institute of Health in the US showed that American Indians and Alaskan Natives have some of the highest rates of substance abuse problems within the US. A study was conducted with 45 different Native Americans, whom were alcoholics; all hospitalized, and within post-treatment only seven improved showing significant changes. One other study showed 28% of American Indians whom received residential and outpatient care showed major improvement within four years of aftercare. This study was done with over 600 different individuals battling addiction. With the right type of treatment, a person battling addiction can over come it and lead a normal life, but for many the treatment is not always available.

Many native reservations have treatment programs available, but this is not always the case across the US, while most American Indians and Alaskan Natives are unable to find programs, specifically for them. According to the SAMHSA one in eight Alaska Natives and American Indians whom were older than twelve years got classified as having a substance abuse issue. Within the rural areas, a person is more likely to find treatment programs operated by Indian Health Services and Tribal Governments, while unfortunately many of these programs are only able to operate out patient services. American Indian and Alaskan Native treatment programs are there to assist residents of the reservation and people of Native American decent and background. These programs can be quite successful when applied properly, and the person shows a certain dedication to achieving complete recovery.

Alcohol abuse continues to be a major issue in the US among all of its residents, but American Indians through out history have had a stigma attached to their culture for battling alcohol abuse. When a survey was conducted with American Indian death certificates it showed that over a four year period; alcohol being the cause of death, was four times as common then in the rest of the American population. Many of these deaths occurred from suicide, homicide, liver disease, and traffic collisions. Many times alcohol abuse will lead to an abuse of other drugs and substances and this will only make the already existing problems more difficult to handle while creating new issues to deal with.

Why is drug and alcohol addiction so prominent in Native American communities, and is there is help available?

Drug and alcohol addiction in Native American communities can be associated with many different factors, but poverty and crime are a major player. Many Native American communities face high unemployment rates, with many families living below the poverty line. Because of this, addiction can occur, but fortunately there are drug and alcohol treatment programs, specifically available for Native Americans and people of Indian decent. These programs are geared specifically towards their culture, and show some good success in helping Native American residents become fully rehabilitated.

Drug and alcohol treatment programs combined with effective drug and alcohol prevention and education are the only real effective measures available to help curb this problem among American Indian and Alaskan Native communities. These programs can help youth make the right decisions while providing the needed support along the way. Many of these facilities provide the necessary treatment to help adults and can provide long term help through support groups and counseling. The problem with addiction in American Indian and Alaskan Native communities is still growing, but many more people are becoming aware of this growing issue and trying to do something about it, while making ongoing differences in their respective communities.

Works Cited
“American Indians/Alaskan Natives and Substance Abuse Treatment Outcomes ” (ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3042549/)
“Facilities Serving American Indians and Alaskan Natives” (samhsa.gov/samhsanewsletter/Volume_17_Number_5/AmericanIndiansAlaskaNatives.aspx)
“Alcohol and Native Americans” (wikipedia.org/wiki/Alcohol_and_Native_Americans)