Heroin and opiate addiction on the Rez, in the Pueblos, and in Northern New Mexico.
What is there about Native American life that so many members of that community seek relief from it through regular or addictive use of everything from alcohol to marijuana to heroin, methamphetamines and now, opioid pain-relief drugs?
For all of those, all of ‘em, the rate of abuse among Native Americans is 2 to 3 times that of all the other racial categories for which statistics are kept.
America knows how to treat this problem, and when it does so, the success rate for Native Americans is almost exactly the same as for everyone else. And this, in spite of the fact that among those reporting for treatment, the rate of reported childhood physical or sexual abuse was about twice as high in Native American communities as in the rest of America.
Treatment works, even if it is not as available in Native communities as many other parts of America.
It’s prevention, or even just management of the “epidemic” of addiction – in the pueblos and on the reservations, and in the rural areas that surround them – that people in the Southwest are searching for.
Russell Contreras is an Associated Press (AP) Southwest correspondent, based in Albuquerque, whose beats include law enforcement and immigration.