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About Us

Across American Indian and Alaska Native (AI/AN) communities today, the high occurrence of alcohol and substance abuse, mental health disorders, suicide, and behavior-related chronic diseases is well documented. Each serious behavioral health issue has a profound impact on the health of individuals, families, and communities, both on- and off-reservations.

The Indian Health Service (IHS) addresses severe alcohol use disorder from a disease model perspective. Alcohol use disorder (AUD) is viewed as a primary chronic disease with genetic, psychosocial, and environmental factors influencing its development and appearance.

Severe alcohol use disorder is progressive and its effects can be fatal. Characteristics of those with AUD include preoccupation with alcohol, the inability to control drinking and tendency to over drink, continuing to use alcohol despite negative consequences, and denial or lack of awareness of the extent of problems associated with continued alcohol consumption. Symptoms of AUD may be continuous and/or periodic.

Substance Use Disorder (SUD) is defined as a pattern of harmful use of any substance, such as illicit drugs for mood-altering purposes, or abuse of prescription or over-the-counter drugs for purposes other than those for which they are indicated, in quantities other than directed by the label.

The Alcohol and Substance Abuse Branch (ASAB) funding consists of:

The goals of the ASAB are to effectively:

  • Assist Tribes in the planning, development, and implementation of culturally-informed programming.
  • Improve the quality of and access to care for AI/AN communities.