Substance and Behavioral Addictions among American Indian and Alaska Native Populations PMC

Our respondents described constructs which are both commonly (e.g., health outcomes) and less commonly (e.g. self-determination) measured in impact analyses of alcohol availability. People in need of extensive or intensive substance abuse treatment services were obliged to travel to distant cities, many hours away by car. As well as removing people from the security of the reservation, this situation created further burdens on family members who were obliged to spend money on gas and accommodations to visit these loved ones (in addition to court costs, which might be considerable, and loss of income). Control and regulation of alcohol and other intoxicating substances have been debated in the United States almost since the nation’s beginning.

The quality of parenting skills is adversely impacted among parents who consume substances and/or who are suffering from anxiety and depression [68]. Detrimental parenting skills can contribute to further difficulties, as individuals may be subject to harsh or neglectful parenting practices when parents are using or are mentally ill [63]. Family discord and inharmonious parent-child relationships can also occur because of parental substance use and also contribute to their children’s SUD [64,65,69]. The Lakota man, with bright green eyes and deep dimples, mentored younger children and taught them traditional weaving.

6. Family Risk Factors

As Lone Hill pulled up to the small three-bed home in the Old Crazy Horse neighbourhood in the reservation’s south, following more than a dozen 911 calls, the scene was one of distressing familiarity. His brother was passed out in the doorway while a group of eight young children scampered around in the darkness. Vodka has become the drink of choice, over the beers that were once on sale at Whiteclay.

alcoholism on indian reservations statistics

By contrast, there was somewhat less difference (13.8%) in average prices for other alcoholic beverages (hard lemonade) in the border town stores compared to the city, and cigarette prices in the border town stores were even slightly lower (2.8%) than in the city. The illegal status of alcohol provided economic opportunities for entrepreneurial individuals and families willing to take the risk of selling alcohol illegally. Bootlegging could be a vital source of income, in particular in an area with very few opportunities for employment. Because they operated on a cash basis, bootleggers also played a role in the local exchange economy in which barter of goods (e.g., beadwork, cooked foods) and services (e.g., childcare, transportation) supported individuals and families. Many respondents had expertise in multiple community systems (for example, several community leaders had previously served in law enforcement; many respondents were parents; and some respondents were traditional leaders as well as service providers). Respondents ranged in age from approximately 30 to approximately 80 years old; included about as many women as men; and included people from nearly all districts across the reservation.

Treatment for Alcohol Addiction

May points out that in a population with a substantial concentration of high-risk, heavy drinkers, measuring repetitive, high-risk, problematic behavior of a subculture of problem drinkers within a community has potential to stigmatize the whole tribe (May, 1994). These myths need to be carefully considered when examining data on the prevalence and impact of drinking with Native populations. Alcoholism and other serious social problems facing Native American communities need to be understood stats on alcoholism in the sociocultural and historical contexts of colonization and historical grief and trauma. While risk factors have been identified and examined in the general population, only a few of these have been examined among Native American populations (Thomason, 2000). The unique sociocultural history of Native Americans suggests that these risk factors may operate differently than they do in other populations affecting prevention, intervention, and treatment approaches (Thomason, 2000).

More research attention is needed to learn about other potential behavioral addictions. Substance use and gambling addictions are significant concerns among the AIAN population. Consistent with prior research in non-AIAN samples, poverty, acculturation, and personality disorders [95,96,97,98] appear to be risk factors for addiction in AIAN individuals as well [33,43,50]. Multiple risk factors contribute to the higher prevalence of these addictions, with many of these factors arguably tracing back to the historical trauma experienced by AIANs. Previous research has established historical trauma as directly linked to poor health outcomes and increased substance use [20,21,22,26,27,28,29,99].