Our project, WAT TOR 2020, will deliver culturally appropriate Telehealth services, recovery support, substance abuse prevention, and medication assisted therapy to reduce drug use and overdose. The Wichita and Affiliated Tribes (WAT), working in partnership with the Kiowa Tribe of Oklahoma, will provide behavioral health services to over 10,000 American Indians in three counties of SW Oklahoma, using or at risk of misusing, opioids and stimulants.
The catchment area is rural, and the largest town is Anadarko in Caddo County with about 6,600 population. Our area includes all of Caddo, Kiowa, and Washita counties, over 3,000 square miles. The total population of all three counties is 38,823 and approximately 10,176 are American Indian. Six federally recognized Tribes are headquartered in Caddo county. Natives live in racially mixed communities not reservations. Economic, social, and health disparities for Natives are great. There are no substance abuse treatment centers or behavioral health therapists. Overdose deaths are four times state average in Washita County and all three counties have high rates of Native poverty and low rates of health insurance. Although opioids are widely misused, methamphetamine abuse is epidemic due to the importation of high-grade meth from Mexico to the area. Methamphetamine is a serious and worsening problem in all three counties and is the number one substance for treatment admissions statewide.
Our goal is to reduce the number of Natives needing behavioral health treatment as well as mortality from overdose and to prevent the initiation of drug use among our youth. We will use culturally appropriate treatment and prevention strategies throughout the project to reduce overdose and the number of Natives needing treatment. WAT TOR 2020 will continue prioritizing opioid misuse but will also address methamphetamine misuse. Up to now transportation and lack of behavioral health services has been a major barrier to providing prevention or treatment services to Natives. Recently, due to the use Telehealth as a result of the Covid 19 Pandemic, Telehealth has become affordable and is now familiar to most Natives. We will utilize Telehealth as a major vehicle to conduct clinical assessments of Natives and provide them counseling and treatment services. The availability of these services will be widely promoted through social media and Tribal newsletters as well as word of mouth. All Natives, regardless of Tribal affiliation will be offered recovery support services such as housing, access to health care, and counseling to maintain abstinence. At the same time we will continue our prevention efforts to eliminate the nonmedical use of prescription drugs among our youth utilizing a program called “Culture and Drugs Don’t Mix that shows great promise. Adults and youth will receive culturally appropriates services through the White Bison Wellbriety program
WAT TOR 2020 will serve approximately 200 Natives in prevention and 80 Natives in treatment modalities over two years. 8,000 more Natives will be reached by PSA’s or social media.