In collaboration with Tribal communities, we design programs and interventions to prevent early drinking and drug use, decrease substance misuse, and develop culturally relevant resources and programs for substance use prevention. For most American Indian communities and peoples, substance use and misuse rates are very low. In fact, American Indians are consistently ranked among the highest in the nation to abstain from alcohol use altogether. At the same time, in some communities the public health consequences of alcohol and drug misuse are evident in terms of elevated rates of substance-use-related death, accidents, and health problems among individuals and within families.
Across the communities we work with, Indigenous cultural values are critical agents for promoting healthy living and preventing substance misuse. Key considerations for our approach include positive youth development, entrepreneurship education, and promoting connectedness to school, positive peers and caring adults.