SCTCA Meeting Date: April 12, 2013

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Substance Abuse Committee: Eric LaChappa, Mark Romero, David Diaz & Anthony Pico

SCTCA Staff: Denis Turner, Executive Director & Recording Secretary

Guest: Four employees from the Southern Indian Health Council which included Steven Gomez, substance abuse counselor, Patty Muse, Executive Assistant to the CEO, Carolina Manzano,  QA Director Megan Lenaghan, and KFS Director Charity White.

The Committee and guests held discussions on analyzing the need for an adult treatment facility located within one of the San Diego reservations. By inviting and listening to the respected professionals in their field of Substance and Alcohol Abuse who have been hired to address these issues, we gathered valuable information in regards to this topic.
As we exchanged ideas, shared viewpoints, perspectives, and expressed opinions we came to the conclusion there is a valid need to fill this void. With the humble and respectful intentions of creating a service where it is needed and helping these communities heal and empower themselves, without interfering or competing with the existing organizations funding opportunities.

The discussions on developing a clear strategy for this facility included current approaches, evidence based modalities, and examining culturally appropriate programs that already exist.

One of the approaches mentioned was “Harm reduction.” Some of the examples on harm reduction on a community level can take the form of a needle exchange program to reduce the spread of diseases such as Hepatitis C and HIV between intravenous drug users. Or a methadone maintenance program can replace heroin or opiate pain medications with a medically safer drug, which will reduce effects of opiate withdrawal and decrease cravings. On an individual basis, a marijuana user can agree not use in certain situations (at work, to drive while under the influence to avoid harming others). While the person is not substance free in any of these examples, the situation is a safer one.

The Committee decided to visit Tule River treatment program to better understand a working model of a culturally appropriate program for American Indians.

On April 8th at the La Posta tribal office Eric La Chappa and I attended an informational presentation. Special Agent Danielle Claude from the Drug Enforcement Administration gave the presentation and the topic was on the trends of heroin, prescription drug abuse and cough syrup. If any Chairman are interested in having Danielle make this presentation available at their reservation her contact is (858) 616-4389.

On May 2nd and 3rd at the El Pueblo Center in Tucson Arizona Chairman Romero and I will be attending the 6th Annual Diverse Voices in Prevention Conference. The topics will be on culturally competent information, programs and methods designed to increase parents understanding of the harms and consequences of youth alcohol and other drug use. Also to increase parents knowledge of resources and skills needed to actively engage in the life of their teen through effective communication and other positive parenting skills.