Debbie Hood interviewed on KUYI regarding Hopi drug and alcohol abuse

POLACCA-Debbie Hood, a mentor with the Hopi Substance Abuse Prevention Program, said alcohol is the most used drug on the reservation with marijuana close behind and methamphetamines being used by a growing segment of the population.

Hood offered her comments during an interview on Hopi radio KUYI Feb. 15.

Hood said too often youth on Hopi need to be taken to the hospital because their blood alcohol level is so high.

Hood said the police are doing everything they can. "They don't deal just with alcohol. I see them interviewing kids who have been molested. They go well beyond their duties," she said.

Hood praised Hopi Jr/Sr High School for taking several steps to combat alcohol and drugs including:

*Offering an Alcoholics Anonymous group. "This is more than Alcoholics Anonymous. It involves alcohol prevention education. I've seen a lot of growth in the kids in there because they're willing to open up," she said.

*Issue mesh backpacks. "I commend the school for doing what it needs to do," she said.

*Hiring a substance abuse prevention counselor at the junior high to work in tandem with the substance abuse prevention counselor at the high school.

"It's good that they hired a counselor for the junior high because there are different issues developmentally," she said.

Hood said she is also working with Jeddito and other schools.

"Drugs and alcohol are finding their way into the elementary schools on Hopi," she said.

Hood said parents need to talk to their children about drugs and alcohol. She added that youth are less likely to use drugs and alcohol if there were more youth centers and if the youth had more activities.

"Youth need a place to work off their creativity," she said.

Hood said she became involved with substance and alcohol abuse prevention because she "lived that life." She said the answer is to stay away from alcohol one day at a time.

"The point is to work with people who have been there," she said. "The biggest solution is prayer. As Native people we've had that, but many have stepped away."

Hood said domestic violence is a problem on Hopi and about 90 percent of these cases are related to alcohol. She said it can be prevented through education.

Hood's advice to youth is to love themselves for who they are. "We have a rich culture. We just need to get in touch with who we are," she said.

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