American Indians and Alaskan Natives who have received medication assisted treatment have found it to be an important part of their path to recovery. Focus group members reported that improved their ability to fulfill roles within their family, regain their identity, and even saved their life. Unfortunately, despite these positive experiences, stigma surrounding the use of medications in treatment is a challenge. Community members, friends, family, clients themselves, and even some medical providers view medication-assisted treatment as another drug of addiction, instead of the treatment resource it is. Focus group members expressed a desire for their community and all native tribes to hear about the success they have experienced in their medication assisted treatment program and to start similar programs throughout the tribes.
Many American Indians and Alaskan Natives have experiencedhistoric acculturation and are now re-embracing their AI/AN culture and traditional spirituality. Higher levels of enculturation are associated with greater preferences for informal healing services over off-reservation professional services (Walls et al, 2006). Appropriate application of traditional means of healing and cultural practices within medication assisted treatment centers should be considered.
Resources on culturally appropriate treatment:
~ White Bison, 2010, retrieved August 22, 2011, from: www.whitebison.org/
~ One Sky Center, retrieved August, 2011, from: http://www.oneskycenter.org/newsletters/documents/MotivationalInterviewing1_001.pdf
~ Native American Motivational Interviewing. Retrieved July, 2011, from: http://www.cyhrnet.ca/documents/Dee%20BigFoot%20-%20Native%20American%20Motivational%20Interviewing%20-%20UNM%20CASAA.pdf
Resources describing successful integration and implementation of western medicine treatment approaches for other chronic diseases:
~ English, K. C., J. Fairbanks, et al. (2008). A socioecological approach to improving mammography rates in a tribal community. Health Educ Behav. United States. 35: 396-409.
~ Tobe, S., L. Vincent, et al. (2010). "Blood pressure 2 years after a chronic disease management intervention study." Int J Circumpolar Health 69(1): 50-60.
~ Looker, H. C., J. Krakoff, et al. (2010). "Secular trends in treatment and control of type 2 diabetes in an American Indian population: a 30-year longitudinal study." Diabetes Care 33(11): 2383-9.
~ Edgerly, C. C., S. S. Laing, et al. (2009). "Steps to a Healthier Anishinaabe, Michigan Strategies for Implementing Health Promotion Programs in Multiple American Indian Communities." Health Promotion Practice 10: 109S-117S