Native American Addiction Treatment Center: Native American Recovery

Substance abuse isn’t biased with a person’s background–it can affect anyone regardless of their gender, age, or race. If you’re someone looking for information on Native American substance abuse treatment, you’ve come to the right place. Read to know more.

Whether we choose to admit it or not, there’s an image that often comes to our mind about what an addict looks like. They may have specific features, and even more so, you may picture them as belonging to a particular race.

You see, these stereotypes are often what makes it difficult for ethnic minorities to come forward about their substance abuse problems. A lot of them would rather suffer in silence because they feel like there are no resources available to help them with their unique needs.

This is not a dilemma left to be ignored. The fact is, a growing number of studies found an increase in substance abuse disorders among ethnic minorities, including Native Americans:

Native American Substance Abuse Statistics

  • There are 5.2 million Native Americans living in the United States. 22% of the population live on tribal lands while the remaining 78% already reside outside of the remote areas.
  • There is a higher percentage of substance abuse among Native American youth in comparison to the general population.
  • Those who live in the remote tribal lands experience higher percentages of substance abuse due to the lack of resources and social isolation within the environment.

In particular, there are also supporting research that there is a growing number of Native Americans suffering from alcohol abuse:

Native American Alcoholism Statistics

  • The rate of binge alcohol use among Native Americans is among the 4th highest compared to other races.
  • 2.5% of substance abuse treatment admissions in facilities are reported as the patient being a Native American. On that 2.5% of admissions, 76.6% are noted to be an alcohol-related addiction.
  • Initial case assessments revealed that those who go to addiction treatment mentioned that their first experience with alcohol is below the age of 17.

These alarming statistics should prompt us enough to take Native American addiction seriously.

Native Americans and Substance Abuse: Understanding the Reasons

What are some of the reasons as to why Native Americans are susceptible to substance abuse? Each individual has their own unique physical, mental, emotional, and socio-cultural context that contribute to their addiction problems. However, Native Americans are unique given their circumstances because of their culture and ethnic background.

Use of psychoactive drugs in rituals

Native Americans have their own unique rituals and practices among their ethnic groups. On some occasions, they use psychoactive drugs such as peyote to perform religious ceremonies. Rather than being used for recreational purposes, the relation between the Native Americans and drugs is deeply ingrained and is meant for religious necessity.

Historical introduction of alcohol

Historical accounts showed that the early European settlers have introduced alcohol to the Native Americans during the colonization period. Many researchers believe that this merging of a “drinking culture” influenced by the Europeans is a probable cause of the high rates of alcoholism among the modern Native Americans.

Physical susceptibility to drugs and alcohol

The “firewater myth” is often used to explain why many Native Americans are suffering from substance abuse problems. This theory states that Native Americans are genetically predisposed to be hooked on drugs and alcohol.

Although not scientifically proven, research done showed that Native Americans actually have less sensitivity to alcohol. This contradicts the firewater myth, but it supports the notion that Native Americans are more prone to substance abuse because they tend to use more alcohol and drugs to achieve their desired effect. This is a known risk factor for substance abuse on other people with different racial backgrounds such as Asians and Caucasians.

Given these distinctive yet ethnically-tied reasons to addiction, what are some ways Native Americans can achieve lasting recovery?

Talk With A Treatment Specialist Now. 24/7 - Call:949-276-2886

Check Your Insurance Coverage For Treatment

Addiction Treatment for Native Americans

If you’re someone looking for resources on Native American recovery, you’ve landed on the right page. At Sunshine Behavioral Health centers, we offer custom treatments that are meant to respond to every physical, mental, emotional, and even cultural needs.

To give you a background on what to expect on a Native American rehab, you’ll find a concise guide below:

What to expect on Native American treatment centers

Step 1: Understanding your unique background

As a Native American, you may have a lot of questions about your addiction and its consequences. Perhaps you’re thinking about how it affects your health, your family, your career, and other aspects of your life. The first step in addiction treatment is understanding your one-of-a-kind situation, with a special emphasis on your ethnic background.

This will help us create a treatment program that is sensitive to your needs. A top-notch rehab center will hold the following procedures to assess your situation:

  • Lab tests: Bloodwork, urine samples, and other physical tests are used to determine the severity of the addiction and what medicines can be used for detox.
  • Interview: Addiction specialists will ask pertinent questions on how the addiction started, specific triggers, and other mental, emotional, and socio-cultural aspects that surround your condition.

Upon receiving information on your ethnic background, trained addiction specialists will ask more questions regarding your Native American culture and perception of substance use, while linking it to potentially effective treatment options.

Step 2: Undergoing treatment

After gathering the necessary information about you, a team of medical professionals will now proceed to work with you on addiction treatment. This combination of procedures may include a medical detox to flush out the effects of drugs and alcohol in the body. Following this, you may be asked to participate in treatment programs which depend on your assessment results and personal preferences, such as:

  • 12-Step Programs: This is a type of addiction treatment program that helps shift your mindset by submitting to a Higher Power and surrendering your substance abuse problems towards a lasting recovery.
  • Non-12-Step Programs: These are other forms of treatment options that do not involve faith-related topics, but rather focus on secular approaches such as self-management, psychotherapies and habit development.
  • Holistic Treatment: This involves the use of meditative procedures such as acupuncture, massage therapy, physical activity, and other related approaches. Holistic treatment is done to promote healing and calmness of the mind, eventually preventing the underlying causes of addiction.

In all of these treatment options, Native American treatment centers should be able to incorporate your ethnic background in targeting the causes of addiction. Whether it is deeply embedded in your tradition, or you have a physical predisposition to abuse drugs or alcohol, addiction specialists guiding you through the course of treatment should know how to make you aware of the causes and provide you with strategies on how to avoid them.

Step 3: Ensuring recovery

After being equipped with the right mindsets and strategies in overcoming an addiction, the next step will be ensuring long-term recovery. For some, it is expected to have some sort of relapse during the recovery period, but your team will provide you with a comprehensive relapse prevention guide to increase your motivation to stay sober.

Aside from this, the various continuation of services will help you stay on track, such as:

  • Psychotherapies (Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy, Dialectic Behavioral Therapy, Family Therapy)
  • Support groups
  • Counseling
  • Nutrition and fitness consultations and check-ins

A great rehab center for Native Americans should consider your long-term recovery as their priority. Some addiction treatment facilities would be quick to put you for inpatient rehab, only to leave you high and dry on the outside world. Sunshine Behavioral Health centers emphasize the importance of aftercare programs so that sobriety won’t just be confined in the four walls of the treatment facility.

Native American Recovery: Your Background Matters

Your ethnic background shouldn’t be a hindrance to your addiction treatment. Rather, it should be a hinge that will allow you to receive custom-fit programs which will be most effective to treat substance abuse problems. The general public may consider your ethnic background as a ‘minority’, but your needs are never minor–your ethnicity and culture matters as much as others in addiction recovery.

Talk with one of our treatment specialists . Call 24/: 949-276-2886


    • – “Higher Rate of Substance Abuse Among Native American Youth on Reservations”.
    • – “SAMHSA American Indian/Alaska Native Data”.
    • – “What Is Peyote? Definition, Effects, Safety & Legality”.
    • – “Alcohol Abuse Among Native Americans”.