Albuquerque, NM, May 24, 2013 --(PR.com
)-- Tribal officials, law enforcement, health care workers and social workers working to stem the rising prescription and over-the-counter drug abuse on their reservations are invited to a tuition-free, two day training session from June 19-20, in Nashville, TN. The training, which is specifically designed to address issues in Indian Country, also includes critical information on identifying and reporting drug endangered children.
Eastern tribes have been particularly hard hit by prescription drug addiction. In 2012, the Cherokee Nation announced that after alcohol, prescription drugs were the second most-abused substance among tribal members. The third most-abused substance among the Cherokee, methamphetamines, is produced from over-the-counter drugs. Other tribes are seeing a rise in heroin addiction, as prescription painkiller users turn to a cheaper fix. According to the IHS, painkillers also account for three out of four overdose deaths.
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 biggest 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 complications of these cases burden practitioners and communities everywhere, the complex and overlapping jurisdictions in Indian County increase 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 developed 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 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 and descendant of the Wichita Tribe of Oklahoma.
The two-day program in Nashville 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 www.lamarassociates.net.