Dear USET/USET SPF Family,
The intersection of the opioid crisis and the COVID-19 pandemic has led to unprecedented challenges for families and communities. Deaths from drug overdoses increased 30% in 2020 (over 2019) driven in large part by illicit fentanyl and other synthetic opioids. Secondary impacts from the pandemic, including limited access to treatment, disrupted routines, loss of work and increased stress have also had severe consequences.
In response, Tribal communities have long been implementing their own unique solutions to these problems, drawing on their inherent strengths and Tribal sovereignty to create innovative programs to address their needs. The USET Tribal Health Program Support (THPS) Tribal Epidemiology Center (TEC) aims to amplify these resources, strategies and policies that are having an impact across our member Tribal Nations.
Additionally, along with others from across Indian Country, USET is now a proud partner and supporter of the upcoming Northwest Portland Area Indian Health Board (NPAIHB) 2023 National Tribal Opioid Summit: Healing Our Nations Together. The Summit will address the ongoing fentanyl crisis through plenaries and breakouts sessions to gather input from Tribal leaders, providers, responders, and community members. These sessions will address topics such as fentanyl issues within communities, Tribal solutions, and Tribal priorities to address the fentanyl crisis to federal officials.
USET encourages Tribal leaders, clinicians, behavioral health providers, public health officials, law enforcement, and community members to attend the Summit. Our organization will offer a limited number of travel stipends to aid in the cost of travel and attendance. If you are interested in attending and would like a travel stipend, please reach out to USET THPS Public Health Manager, Bernice Jordan (firstname.lastname@example.org).
The Summit will be held at the Tulalip Resort Casino, on their sovereign homelands in Tulalip, Washington on August 22-24, 2023. The link to register can be found on the website.
Finally, USET THPS programmatic efforts currently offer a commitment to increase both infrastructure and capacity to address opioid overdoses within each Tribal Nation. We work closely with Tribal Nation partners on several programs including Medicated-Assisted Treatment (MAT), Strategic Planning, Mobile Crisis Units, Wellness Courts, Harm Reduction programs, Data- flow analysis, and Overdose Detection Mapping Application Program (ODMap). We also offer our nationally promoted Reclaiming Native Psychological Brilliance Behavioral Health ECHO series and the USET Opioid Taskforce. The goal of these programs is to focus on opioid use in their communities. Additionally, we are organizing a Narcan campaign, which includes education, training, and videos on the life-saving power or naloxone. Information about the Narcan campaign will be made available soon. You can find more information and points of contact for each of these programs can be found on the USET website.
"Opioid and fentanyl addiction, like all other drugs, will ravage family connections. It also brings with it the real threat of sudden death from an overdose. This abrupt loss leaves in its wake, the crushed hopes and dreams of all who loved them, and the grief will reverberate through a family for generations. We must push for prevention, treatment, and recovery measures that we know, will work for us." Saint Regis Mohawk Tribal Chief, Beverly Cook.
Drug Overdose Prevention in Tribal Communities | Budget | Injury | CDC
Joint Tribal Organization Letter to OMB Re: Native Behavioral Health Resources Program – February 17, 2023
Joint Tribal Organization Letter to Senate Help Committee in Support of Native Behavioral Health Provision – November 29, 2022
USET SPF Letter in Support of the Comprehensive Addiction Resources Emergency (CARE) Act of 2021 – December 7, 2021
USET SPF Comments Re: NTAC Recommendations on IHS Behavioral Health Funding – October 1, 2019
USET SPF Comments on IHS FY 2019 Opioid Grant Funds – September 3, 2019