KYKOTSMOVI, Ariz. - On Sept. 13, Hopi Tribal Chairman Leroy Shingoitewa declared September National Alcohol and Drug Addiction Recovery Month on Hopi with the motto "Join the Voices of Recovery; Now More than Ever." The proclamation brings attention to the problem of substance abuse on the Hopi Reservation and the services that are available to help in recovery. The proclamation was initiated by Kevin Nash, Hopi Substance Abuse Prevention Center program manager and co-sponsored by the Hopi Alliance Against Substance Abuse, the Hopi Behavioral Health Program and Community Bridges.
Recovery Month was established by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and supported by the Substance Abuse and Mental health Service Administration, the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy to recognize the societal benefits of substance abuse treatment. The initiative also stresses that recovery is possible and that individuals need to help expand and improve the availability of substance abuse treatment. Recovery Month is also a celebration of those in recovery and brings attention to the success of programs in helping thousand of people recover from substance abuse. Recovery Month serves to educate the public on substance abuse as a health crisis and addiction as a treatable disease. During Recovery Month the need for treatment for family, friends, workplace and society as a whole is highlighted. The message is to educate the public and reduce the stigma associated with addiction and treatment. By education and knowledge of the disease people need to support treatment centers and individuals who work in the field of treatment as well those in need of treatment according to www.recoverymonth.gov.
Substance abuse is prevalent in Native communities throughout the nation and affects everyone. Chairman Shingoitewa commented that he grew up with 10 individuals in Keams Canyon and six of them died from alcohol related deaths. He stated that he could have easily gone down that route but went another direction. He points out that when he is at functions representing the Hopi Tribe, he is sometimes offered alcohol, but declines and opts for a soda. He feels that it sends the wrong message to his people if he were to be seen drinking alcohol at a public function.
When asked about past incidents of alcohol use by elected officials and the publicity surrounding these incidents, he pointed out that in the new Hopi Constitution there is a section that will penalize officers of the tribe that may be caught in alcohol related situations.
Vice Chairman, Herman Honanie and several tribal council members conveyed their support of recovery and expressed their own experiences regarding family members and their recovery from alcohol abuse. Miss Hopi Johnetta Honie, and First Attendant Jenna Lamson, gave a heartfelt testimony to the pain they have experienced due to alcohol and drug abuse in their families. Representatives from the HOPI Substance Abuse Prevention Center gave their thoughts on recovery and that help is available pointing to their own recovery from alcohol and drugs as proof that it does work.
Carlton Timms and Sylvia Ortiz from Community Bridges were on hand to make their comments. Community Bridges: A Pathway to Hope is a nationwide treatment facility that has two centers in Winslow and Holbrook. They provide treatment for individuals and offer detox services for individuals in need of inpatient treatment as well as outpatient and peer support services. They will come to the Hopi reservation to pick up individuals in need of immediate services and can be reached 24 hours a day at (928) 289-3151. This echoes the need for on-reservation services to be able to treat individuals in their own cultural setting which has proven to be more successful in many treatment centers on other reservations.
For more information on the Hopi Substance Abuse Prevention Center call (928) 734-0300 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.