Gordy Adams: Combating methamphetamine in tribal housing

A growing problem in Indian Country
By Gordy Adams, Jr
Bois Forte Housing Department

As director of housing for the Bois Forte Band of Chippewa, methamphetamine usage in our housing units has and continues to be a problem.

I have done a lot of research on this issue, and there is not a lot of guidance on the cleaning of these contaminated units. I have attended several trainings on decontamination and have now trained our maintenance staff to do this type of clean up work. It is very hazardous work and time consuming, as all of the entire contents inside the home need to be removed and discarded as contaminated.

Our maintenance staff have been trained in the decontamination process, HAZWOPER trained, CPR certified, as well as respirator fit tested. We have invested in the proper equipment, including all of the personal protective equipment.

By training your own crews to do this work, your tribe would save an extraordinary amount of money rather than hiring a "cleaning" company to do this work. It can cost $40,000 to clean one unit, as reported by Native Sun News Today.

To combat this growing problem, I have written a "Meth Usage/Decontamination" policy that has been adopted and approved by our Tribal Council here in Minnesota. It lays forth policies for which our housing staff may legally enter a unit and test for meth usage, eviction procedures, pre/post testing procedures, decontamination procedures and provides notice that the tenant is responsible for all clean up costs.

All Indian housing programs need to develop a similar policy in order to put all tenants on notice of the serious ramifications of using meth in our public housing units.

I will send you a copy of this policy as a model for your tribe or if you just have questions regarding this issue. Please contact me at 218-757-3261 or email: gordy.adams@boisforte-nsn.gov.


Gordy Adams, Jr., serves as the director of Bois Forte Housing Department for the Bois Forte Band of Chippewa, a sovereign nation whose homelands are located in present-day Minnesota.

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