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...
Stay Connected:
On Facebook

On Twitter

On Google+

On SoundCloud
Local Links:
Federal Register | Indian Gaming | Jobs & Notices | In The Hoop | Message Board
Latest News:
Tribes mount another fight after Trump approves another pipeline (3/24)
Native Sun News Today: Navajo elders continue long fight on land (3/24)
Editorial: Just another day of trying to keep up with the Trumps (3/24)
Elizabeth LaPensée: Video games encourage indigenous culture (3/24)
Mary Annette Pember: Native women work with youth offenders (3/24)
Tiffany Midge: Trump continues to conjure hero Andrew Jackson (3/24)
John Kane: Seneca Nation money train coming to end in New York (3/24)
Grand Ronde Tribes secure approval of school mascot agreement (3/24)
Editorial: Federal recognition for tribes in Virginia is long overdue (3/24)
Seneca Nation ends casino payments after sending $1.4B to state (3/24)
Appeals court hears slew of Indian cases amid focus on nominee (3/23)
Internal tribal disputes continue to trip up federal court system (3/23)
Mark Trahant: Indian health care gains ignored in political debate (3/23)
Native Sun News Today: Young fighters maintain Lakota tradition (3/23)
Ivan Star Comes Out: America loses its self-respect and humanity (3/23)
Rosalyn LaPier: Why water remains sacred to indigenous peoples (3/23)
Winona LaDuke: North Dakota spreads filth about water protectors (3/23)
Harold Monteau: Tribal governments are abusing their own people (3/23)
Alex Jacobs: Donald Trump in middle of the 'deep state civil war' (3/23)
Secretary Zinke announces 'doggy days' for Interior Department (3/23)
Keystone XL Pipeline route crosses Ponca Tribe's forced removal (3/23)
Indian lawmaker resigns after being charged for child prostitution (3/23)
Pinoleville Pomo Nation buys site of long-delayed casino project (3/23)
High court pick acknowledges poor treatment of 'sovereign' tribes (3/22)
Dakota Access submits another status update entirely under seal (3/22)
Court allows claim for alleged underpayment in Cobell settlement (3/22)
South Dakota tribes continue to extend Class III gaming compacts (3/22)
Cowlitz Tribe secures approval to offer liquor as casino debut nears (3/22)
Native Sun News Today: Community project continues at Pine Ridge (3/22)
Cronkite News: Copper mine on sacred site complains about delays (3/22)
Mary Annette Pember: Awareness for missing and murdered sisters (3/22)
Stacy Pratt: Visiting the gravesite of Andrew Jackson in Tennessee (3/22)
Murder charge filed for fatal shooting of Navajo Nation police officer (3/22)
Muckleshoot Tribe still seeking answers for fatal shooting by officer (3/22)
Hopland Band submits claim for county raid of marijuana operation (3/22)
Chukchansi Tribe sued for $21M by gaming development company (3/22)
Seminole Tribe accused of breaking contract with outlet at casino (3/22)
Indian Child Welfare Act survives attack from conservative groups (3/21)
Senate Committee on Indian Affairs schedules hearing on diabetes (3/21)
Ponca Tribe hosts 282-mile walk to retrace trail of forced removal (3/21)
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.