U.S. Department of Health & Human Services
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 4, 2006
HHS AWARDS $1.2 MILLION TO ADDRESS METHAMPHETAMINE ABUSE IN NATIVE AMERICAN COMMUNITIES
HHS Assistant Secretary for Health John Agwunobi today announced the award of $1,175,100 in funds to the American Association of Indian Physicians (AAIP) and its partners to address the outreach and education needs of Native American communities on methamphetamine (meth) abuse.
"American Indians and Alaska Natives suffer health disparities for many diseases at a higher percentage than other U.S. populations," Dr. Agwunobi said. "Tribal officials have identified meth use as one of their highest priority health issues, and called for federal and state assistance to conduct outreach and education and help reduce the toll that methamphetamine abuse is taking on their communities."
According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health 2005, recently released by HHS, nearly 1.7 percent of the Native population has used methamphetamine, compared to less than one percent of whites, Hispanics, Asians or blacks. Methamphetamine use has been implicated in crimes against people and property, elevated suicide rates, heightened risks of hepatitis C and HIV/AIDS, needs for more foster care placements for children of users, and environmental impacts from manufacturing facilities.
This initiative identifies a two-pronged approach, including a national education and information outreach campaign and a series of knowledge transfer activities that would help communities understand promising practices in combating methamphetamine abuse. It brings federal, tribal, state, and local resources together to reach urban and rural Native American communities and families.
As part of the initiative, the partners will develop the national information and outreach campaign and a culturally specific methamphetamine abuse education kit, document and evaluate promising practices in education on meth use, and create meth awareness multi-disciplinary education teams.
The AAIP, of Oklahoma City, OK, will partner with:
- Oregon Health and Science University-One Sky Center, Portland, OR. (OHSU-OSC). OHSU-OSC will serve as the principal expert for behavioral health, mental health and substance abuse regarding methamphetamine abuse.
- National Congress of American Indians, Washington, DC. NCAI will work to provide technical assistance on a national tribal scale.
- United South and Eastern Tribes (USET), Nashville, TN. USET will contribute regional expertise and will track data and trends within its region.
- Northwest Portland Area Indian Health Board (NPAIHB), Portland OR. NPAIHB will contribute regional expertise and will track data and trends within its region.
- Choctaw Nation, Crow Nation, Navajo Nation, Northern Arapaho Tribe, and Winnebago Tribe. The five Tribes will provide technical assistance and document promising practices undertaken by their communities.