Fairbanks Native Association (FNA) is applying for support for a Community Opioid Intervention Project. Although FNA meets the requirements of all three tribal designations, FNA is applying as an Urban Indian Organization designation.
Purpose: To address the American Indian/Alaska Native (AI/AN) opioid crisis in the FNA tribal community by expanding services for Opioid use Disorder (OUD)
Overarching Goal: To develop a culturally appropriate tribal community project to intervene in the opioid epidemic in the Fairbanks North Star Borough (FNSB) tribal community.
Goal 1: Develop community education and awareness to address the opioid epidemic
Goal 2: Expand access to culturally appropriate Medically Assisted Treatment (MAT) services
Goal 3: Build support system for strengthening families using culturally appropriate methods
The proposed project, the Fairbanks Tribal Opioid Intervention Project (Tribal Opioid Project ) primarily serves Alaska Natives, but also serves American Indians by reciprocal agreement. FNA realized the extent of AI/AN opioid abuse early in the escalating epidemic. In response, FNA’s Behavioral Health Director co-founded the Fairbanks Opioid Work Group in 2015. Since that time, FNA, through the guidance of its community behavioral health coalition (the Interagency Transition Council), has made great strides in addressing the opioid epidemic. Our tribal community has been unable, however, to develop the comprehensive continuum of care needed to fully address the opioid epidemic in our tribal service area. The Tribal Opioid Project will result in the comprehensive continuum of care necessary to reduce opioid use, addiction, and deaths. Opioid services FNA currently provides include treatment services for clients on medication (buprenorphine) through Memoranda of Agreement with the two buprenorphine providers in our service area (Interior Aids Association and Tanana Valley Clinic). FNA had a state-funded MAT-specific outpatient treatment unit in place for three years but was unable to sustain this unit when funding expired in 2019. However, this and additional experience addressing opioid and other substance abuse disorders ensures FNA is ideally placed to provide MAT-specific treatment. FNA currently provides the following opioid services: Peer Recovery Support, Elder Involvement Talking Circle, Transition Planning, and comprehensive quality assurance to ensure expected service results.
The proposed project will provide all of the required services, as stated in our project goals above. Centering project goals on the three required services ensures this project will provide all required services. FNA also has extensive experience in providing all three of the required services, though prior to the proposed project, these have not been opioid-specific. FNA’s Behavioral Health Department’s Youth and Young Adult Services Division facilitates an annual marketing campaign focused on both community awareness and behavioral health education. FNA utilizes a regularly updated Cultural Competence Plan to ensure optimal cultural competence. FNA Behavioral Health’s Family Services unit provides family training and ensures a Family Representative is on the Interagency Transition Council.
With four decades of providing behavioral health services and five years providing opioid-specific services, FNA is ideally positioned for project success. FNA operates the most comprehensive behavioral health continuum of care in Alaska, and its tenured Behavioral Health Director is an Alaska Native Elder. FNA’s Behavioral Health Department is further enhanced by four highly qualified consultants (executive level experience) who provide expertise, technical assistance, and support to the proposed project.