The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) has awarded a $1.8 million grant over five years to the Johns Hopkins Center for Indigenous Health to provide mental health, behavioral health, and substance use disorder resources and prevention strategies to Apache children and youth. The project, Strategic Prevention Framework, builds on a 30+ year partnership between the White Mountain Apache Tribe and the Johns Hopkins Center for Indigenous Health.
Nationally, Native Americans experienced the largest increase in drug overdose deaths during the pandemic than other populations and alcohol use and alcohol-related deaths are also increasing in Native communities. The National Tribal Behavioral Health Agenda identified alcohol to be the largest contributing factor of increased mortality and American Indian and Alaska Native populations, and alcohol and substance misuse have been identified as a priority for public health within the Apache Tribe.
Services will help reverse the progression of substance use in the community and include partnership-building, screening and referral to specific support resources; provision of education to parents, families, and community members; and engagement of a community advisory board to promote infrastructure coordination and development. This project will strengthen the network of substance use prevention resources available in the community and integrate culturally-specific messaging and stress reduction activities. By building on established networks among substance use, mental health, and other service providers, we can promote better education around the risks of using these substances and awareness of resources for stopping substance misuse.
Strategic Prevention Framework will be based on the Fort Apache Indian Reservation and serve residents of the reservation, particularly Native American children, adolescents, and adults.