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U.S. Attorney Will Address Tribes at Free Drug Prevention Training

Albuquerque, NM, April 04, 2013 --( United States Attorney for the District of New Mexico, Kenneth Gonzales, will be presenting opening remarks to representatives of tribal communities receiving training to identify and prevent drug abuse, prescription drug diversion and drug endangered children. Registration for the Tribal Drugs of Abuse and Drug Endangered Children training, facilitated by the expert Native trainers of Lamar Associates, is free and open to anyone working with Native communities.

Mr. Gonzales is expected to deliver remarks based on his experience serving on the Attorney General’s Advisory Committee’s Subcommittees on Native American Issues and Southwest Border and Immigration Issues and his tenure as the Chairman of the Executive Board of the New Mexico High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area Program (HIDTA), an initiative designed to combat the production, importation, transportation and distribution of controlled substances in the region.

New Mexico has been particularly hard hit by prescription drug addiction. In 2011, New Mexicans led the nation in prescription drug overdoses, most of which were accidental. New Mexicans addicted to painkillers are also turning in greater numbers to heroin abuse. The training program will include a session on the link between prescription opioids and heroin.

The consequences of drug use usually are not limited to the user and often extend to the user's family and the greater community. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Service Administration’s latest data indicate that an estimated 2.1 million American children (3%) lived with at least one parent who was dependent on or abused illicit drugs.

Statistics on child welfare in Indian Country, although far from complete, paint a troubling picture of too many children being neglected and even abused, with substance abuse emerging as the most common contributing factor. For this reason, Lamar Associates and the National Alliance for Drug Endangered Children (National Alliance DEC) formed a partnership in 2009 to provide training and technical assistance for service providers who work with children in tribal communities. The training improves early detection and intervention so that Native families get the help they need before a tragedy occurs.

The primary challenge with illegal substance abuse and drug endangered children is in coordinating the social and political systems charged with preventing, intervening, and treating these cases. Although the number, complexity and medical challenges of these cases burden practitioners and communities everywhere, the complex and overlapping jurisdictions in Indian County exacerbate the difficulty. Tribal service providers frequently feel they don't have the staffing or funding to properly handle these cases, much less to prevent them effectively. While this may be true for an individual department or agency, resources and funding can be found through community partnerships.

“We have been training our tribal communities to combat the serious and complex prescription drug abuse issue for several years” said Walter Lamar, President and CEO of Lamar Associates, “We appreciate the DOJ COPS Office support and our collaborative partnership with the National Indian Child Welfare Association and the National Alliance DEC that further helps our communities.” Mr. Lamar is an enrolled member of the Blackfeet Nation of Montana, descendant of the Wichita Tribe of Oklahoma, and has lived and worked on the Blackfeet, Wind River, Jicarilla, Apache, and Navajo Reservations, and in Oklahoma’s Indian Country.

The two-day program in Albuquerque will include courses on pharmaceutical abuse and diversion, drug endangered children identification and reporting, the growing trend of painkiller addicts turning to heroin, community policing, partnership development, and developing problem solving strategies. Lamar Associates’ approach reflects a deep understanding of and sensitivity to Native perspectives and the lack of resources most tribal governments face. Mr. Lamar emphasized, “We aim to equip course participants with the critical skills they need to respond to these issues. Our trainers will work with participants to develop a next-step plan for combatting these growing and deadly trends.” Online collaboration tools and resources will also be provided to participants.

The Department of Justice, Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) is funding this tuition-free training as part of an extensive program funded by the Community Policing Training and Technical Assistance program. Lamar Associates is a 100 percent American Indian-owned professional training and technical assistance company with an intimate understanding of the challenges facing Indian Country. The company has trained over 7000 tribal service professionals representing over 500 tribal organizations in crime, gang, and drug education and drug prevention.

Further information about the program can be located on the project website or by contacting Lamar Associates at 202-543-8181 or on the Internet at
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Lamar Associates
Walter Lamar

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