Prevention of substance abuse in Native youth
Via intertribal talking circle
What is the happening?
American Indian/Alaska Native (AI/AN) and Indigenous youth have the earliest age of initiation of alcohol use and the highest rates of binge drinking of ethnic groups in the US. AI/AN youth usually begin using alcohol, marijuana, and cigarettes around age 11, which is earlier than other populations. By the twelfth grade, 80% of AI/AN youth are active drinkers, and are more likely than other youth to have used methamphetamines.
What is next?
To address this early initiation into substance abuse among AI/AN and Indigenous youth, an after-school intervention targeted at AI youth in the sixth grade in three tribal communities in the US—the Ojibwe/Chippewa in Minnesota, Choctaw in Oklahoma, and Lumbee in North Carolina—was undertaken. The intervention was developed by Dr. John Lowe, McKenzie Professor of Health Disparities Research at Florida State University, and is based on the Talking Circle, a tradition among AI/AN and Indigenous people which fosters the traditional sense of belonging. Through use of this symbolic tradition, the Intertribal Talking Circle project has enabled AI/AN and Indigenous youth to use the support and insight of each other to move away from harmful behaviors, such as substance abuse, and to move toward something positive. The five-year, NIH-funded project brings the Talking Circle concept to a new level using web-based virtual connections between the three tribal communities.
Dr. John Lowe and CHER Director Dr. Julie Baldwin are Multiple Principal Investigators on the project.
This project is funded by the National Institutes of Health, National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), id: 7R01DA035143-04.