The opioid crisis has taken a toll everywhere, but American Indians and Alaska Natives have been hardest hit. That group had the highest drug overdose death rates in 2015, and the largest percentage increase— > 500%—in the number of deaths between 1999 and 2015 compared with that of other racial and ethnic groups.
In February 2018, the IHS released the revised agency policy on chronic pain management. It also has now launched a website ( www.ihs.gov/opioids) as another step in addressing the problem.
The website discusses the crisis response, funding opportunities, best practices, and proper pain management. It includes Community Opioid Action Plans, which inform the public about how indigenous planning using traditional practices and holistic, culturally appropriate approaches can help.
The website also provides resources for tribes, such as links to the Office of Tribal Affairs and Policy, the point of contact for tribal governments, tribal organizations and federal agencies on behavioral health issues that affect tribal communities; the Office of Indian Alcohol and Substance Abuse; and SAMHSA Tribal Training and Technical Assistance.