indianz.com your internet resource indianz.com on facebook indianz.com on twitter indianz.com on Google+ indianz.com on soundcloud
phone: 202 630 8439
Dynamic Homes
Advertise on Indianz.Com
Home > News > Headlines
Print   Subscribe
Cronkite News: Fighting the opioid epidemic in Indian Country

Filed Under: Health | National
More on: arizona, cronkite news, drugs, meetings, ncai
     
   

Kitcki Carroll moderated the panelists who presented at NCAI’s 73rd Annual Convention and Marketplace in Phoenix. Photo by Courtney Columbus / Cronkite News

Battling opioid addiction in Indian Country
By Courtney Columbus
Cronkite News
cronkitenews.azpbs.org

PHOENIX – For Tara Mason, the impacts of addiction to opioids and other drugs on the White Earth Nation in Minnesota hit close to home.

The mother of nine has adopted four children. Last month, she became a foster parent to another child whose parents were addicts.

“We’re running out of homes, we’re running out of other places,” said Mason, the secretary and treasurer of the White Earth Nation.

Overdose deaths from opioid use are more prevalent among Native Americans than any other ethnic group.

At a recent National Congress of American Indians meeting in Phoenix, Mason was a panelist at a crowded session focused on opioid addiction. While the panelists shared strategies to combat opioid addiction, some of the 90 people who attended the event shared stories of personal experiences of addiction.

Mason said the hospital on the White Earth Nation reported five babies are born addicted to opiates each month. The statistics motivated her to help start an alternative treatment program for pregnant women in June 2015. The program uses the drug Suboxone to help women recover from opioid addiction.

As many as 60 mothers might attend the addiction program on any given day, she said.

The White Earth Nation, she said, “is moving forward.”

She said the community has also utilized the drug Narcan to save people who have overdosed on drugs. To date, they have 70 documented saves, she said.

Panelist Bob Bryant, a police chief on the Penobscot Nation in Maine, discussed a Penobscot judicial system that takes a holistic approach to helping addicts. Such ‘Healing to Wellness’ courts can help to put people who are addicted, have been arrested, or are facing charges on the path to recovery instead of in jail, said Bryant. A variety of people serve on the court, including medical professionals, members of law enforcement and counselors.

“We’re not going to arrest our way out of this problem,” Bryant said. But he added that the tribe still needs a law enforcement component in place to help connect addicts to the services they need.

“It’s not about punishment,” Bryant said. “It’s about getting folks off of these dreadful drugs.”

In 2014, almost 2 million Americans abused or were addicted to prescription painkillers, according to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health. But in 2014, 8.4 out of every 100,000 Native Americans died from overdosing on opioids. The rate was 7.9 for whites, 3.3 for blacks, and 2.2 for Latinos, according to an NCAI policy paper.

Opioids aren’t the only problem, however; panelists and audience members also spoke about experiences with heroin, meth or alcohol addictions. While deaths from opioid overdoses outpace deaths from heroin use in Indian Country, heroin still killed almost four out of every 100,000 Native Americans in 2014, the NCAI reported.

“This is an epidemic that impacts all of us,” said Kitcki Carroll, the executive director of the United South and Eastern Tribes.

“I’ve never seen anything like it in my lifetime,” said Bryant, of the Penobscot Nation. “How is this not our number one priority in all of our communities, and across the U.S.?”

Note: This article is published via a Creative Commons license. Cronkite News is produced by the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University.


Copyright © Indianz.Com
More headlines...

Latest Headlines:

Tribes in for long haul as oil continues to flow through Dakota Access
Mark Trahant: Don't plan on getting sick if you're from Indian Country
Tiffany Midge: I shall joke as long as the grass grows and the rivers flow
Director of Office of Indian Energy deletes offensive Twitter account
States cheer decision on grizzly bears amid tribal concerns about hunts
Washington asks high court to overturn Yakama Nation treaty victory
New York Times editorial board reconsiders stance on racist trademarks
Colville Tribes remove council member a week before citizens go to polls
Marijuana firm promises big investments with help of ex-Seminole chair
Lumbee Tribe ordered to release voter list to opponents of chairman
National Indian Gaming Association chooses David Bean as vice chair
Eastern Cherokee citizen promoted to vice president of casino marketing
Tribes in Connecticut waiting on governor to sign bill for new casino
Secretary Zinke removes protections for grizzlies over tribal objections
Court sets final deadline for remaining payments from Cobell settlement
Mary Annette Pember: Indian Child Welfare Act strengthens our families
Peter d'Errico: Navajo authors offer fresh perspective on sovereignty
Native woman was jailed and forced to ride with assailant during trial
Ute Mountain Ute Tribe challenges new permit for uranium operation
Montana tribes get new member of Congress who pleaded to assault
Connecticut tribes welcome court decision favoring new casino law
Pueblo tribes dispute state's demand for $40M in gaming revenues
Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe remains confident of approval of casino
Nooksack Tribe accepting slot tickets while casino remains closed
Key House committee under fire for moving slowly on tribal agenda
Tribes go it alone on climate change as Trump team shifts priorities
Bryan Newland: President Trump's budget threatens tribal treaties
Steve Russell: The GI Bill changed the United States for the better
Harold Monteau: Democrats lack proactive agenda, proactive strategy
St. Regis Mohawk Tribe orders 20 non-citizens to leave reservation
Wilton Rancheria accused of working too closely with city on casino
Witness list for hearing on bill to reform the Indian Health Service
Arne Vainio: What does the princess want to be when she grows up?
Doug George-Kanentiio: 'Spirit Game' brings Iroquois lacrosse to life
Cronkite News: Navajo activist vows fight against racist NFL mascot
Eric Hannel: Addressing the health care crisis among Native Americans
Bill for tribal regalia at graduation ceremonies advances in California
Ramapough Lunaape Nation wins reversal of ruling on prayer camp
Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe still waits on casino ruling from Trump team
Another former leader of Winnebago Tribe pleads in gaming theft case
Supreme Court ruling poses hurdle for opponents of racist NFL mascot
Change the Mascot campaign responds to negative Supreme Court ruling
Secretary Zinke set for another hearing on Interior Department budget
Mark Trahant: Republicans write health reform bill behind closed doors
Jeff Grubbe: Agua Caliente Band focuses on protecting our groundwater
Steven Newcomb: Asserting our traditions in the era of Donald Trump
Shasta Dazen: 'Family Spirit' program incorporates our tribal traditions
Secretary Zinke shuffles top Indian Affairs officials at Interior Department
Choctaw Nation travels to Ireland to dedicate 'Kindred Spirits' sculpture
Nooksack Tribe closes doors to casino after being hit with federal order
Muscogee Nation asserts authority at allotment where casino was proposed
Mark Trahant: Dakota Access decision offers a chance to return to respect
Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe hails 'victory' in Dakota Access Pipeline case
Nooksack Tribe told to close casino amid leadership and citizenship feud
Kristi Noem: Enough is enough - It's time to fix the Indian Health Service
Second hearing scheduled on bill to reform the Indian Health Service
Trump nominee for appeals court seen as favorable to tribal interests
>>> more headlines...

Home | Arts & Entertainment | Business | Canada | Cobell Lawsuit | Education | Environment | Federal Recognition | Federal Register | Forum | Health | Humor | Indian Gaming | Indian Trust | Jack Abramoff Scandal | Jobs & Notices | Law | National | News | Opinion | Politics | Sports | Technology | World

Indianz.Com Terms of Service | Indianz.Com Privacy Policy
About Indianz.Com | Advertise on Indianz.Com

Indianz.Com is a product of Noble Savage Media, LLC and Ho-Chunk, Inc.