Native American Addiction Treatment Centers Visitation – Lara Moody

Name: Lara Moody

Role: Doctoral Student

Program: Clinical Psychology

Meeting: Native American Addiction Treatment Centers (2016)

I had such an enriching experience during my visit to Native American treatment centers on the Wind River Indian Reservation. The opportunity to see the adaptation of empirically based practices (EBPs) for the treatment of addiction to the distinctive culture and beliefs of the Northern Arapaho and Eastern Shoshone people was instructive to my pursuit of how we can improve addiction treatment in underserved and disparate rural populations. One notable aspect of the experience was how welcoming the patients, treatment staff, and leadership were to talk with me about what they see as strengths of the program (such as the adaptation of EBPs to the medicine wheel) and what they see as comparative weaknesses (such as the lack of access to medical detox or inpatient treatment facilities) without leaving the reservation. I heard time and time again the importance of prevention and advocacy for teenage youth on the reservation and the importance of including family and providing transport to the successful treatment of substance use. Many of these perceived priorities are also common in other populations. Another notable aspect of the experience was how tribal leadership has welcomed a multisite study through University of Washington (UW) on the use of contingency management (CM) for alcohol use disorder that is funded through the NIH and looking at the efficacy of CM in Native American and Alaskan Native populations. Overall, my time on the Wind River Reservation provided me the opportunity to network with a population that is not typically as visible in a research settings and to learn concrete skills pertaining to working with Native American substance using populations and treatment providers that may be useful in my future pursuits.