Drug And Alcohol Dependency Within Native American Essay

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Elise Stewart, November 4, 2010 Drug and alcohol dependency issues within Native Americans communities Substance abuse among Native Americans is the number one health problem facing this population according to the United States Indian Health Service (IHS). There are many factors for the health professional to consider before commencing with counseling this group. First they need to make sure they themselves are in the right frame of mind. One thing to keep in mind is that 70% of Americans admit to drinking on a regular basis compared to only 40% of Native Americans (Tlanusta, et al., 2000). The Services Administration (SAMHSA) data on substance use and mortality reports that American Indians/Alaska Natives have the highest mortality rates form alcohol abuse of any population group. Currently there exists a great need for therapists with cultural competence. Risk Factors M.J Anderson & Ellis (1988) have identified the following elements as underlying reasons for substance abuse among Native Americans: historical factors, isolation, generational splits, socio-demographics, such as unemployment, physiology, such as the proven difficulty of Native Americans in absorbing sugars, social facilitation, such as social cohesion, peer pressure, coping mechanism, and noninterference, such as avoidance behavior in communities. Another major contributing factors that increases risk is trauma that includes the suppression or destruction of indigenous culture. What was perpetuated upon the Native American peoples in the United States has assuredly resulted in emotional and psychological injury that has been transmitted intergenerationaly, from generation to generation, resulting in unresolved grief, depression, low self-esteem, and anger. The resulting trauma can in some people lead to self-destructive behaviors including drug and alcohol abuse. If this sort of trauma

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