Native Americans and Treatment

native american youth

Substance abuse is a problem for many people and Native Americans are no exception. Alcohol abuse is prevalent in this community especially, which continues to be a challenge in terms of treatment options. Poor economic conditions, lack of jobs or suitable programs are leaving gaps in treatment. Learn more about options available for substance abuse treatment for Native Americans.

Addiction Treatment

More agencies and organizations are beginning to recognize a need for treatment programs that support Native Americans. Tribal governments have created substance use prevention and treatment programs to provide for needs of the native people’s population including the following:

  • Culturally sensitive and customized addiction treatment content and language
  • Easier access to treatment
  • Residential programs
  • Awareness education in school
  • Outpatient addiction treatment programs

Providing Treatment

As with any addiction treatment program, there are many steps to follow. Learn more about those steps and how to get started.

Assessment and Evaluation

The first step for anyone going into treatment is assessment and evaluation by an addiction specialist. Once the severity of addiction issues is determined, then a suitable treatment plan can come to light and be prepared.


Withdrawal from drugs or alcohol is usually very uncomfortable and maybe even dangerous. To make a person more comfortable and minimize relapse risk, a detox unit is typically recommended. Native Americans will go through detox surrounded by professionals monitoring progress to assist with any emergencies as they arise.

Psychological Therapies and Support

Native American addiction treatment programs generally take a multi-faceted approach to recovery. Treatment usually involves therapy including individual, group and family oriented programs as well as pharmacological treatment for opiate addiction. Mental health problems are a huge concern at this stage so any medication or therapeutic support can be offered to support long term recovery.


Completion of a program is not the end of the journey. Native Americans in recovery will need a great deal of support from their community. Outpatient therapy, self-help groups, vocational training, community help and perhaps a stay in a halfway house are all part of the journey.

Treatment Barriers

Native Americans face many obstacles and barriers when trying to overcome addiction. Treatment barriers may include some of the following:

  • Cultural view of addiction and treatment
  • Denial of an issue
  • Family, work or school obligation
  • Financial challenges
  • Lack of health insurance
  • Language barriers
  • Limited access to treatment options

A number of choices are coming up for Native Americans who need addiction treatment. Medical professionals are usually able to refer Native Americans to suitable addiction treatment facilities.


Sustain Recovery provides recovery to adolescents who need a short or long-term solution. Learn more about our programs by calling us to see how we can support your adolescent in finding the right pathway to recovery.