NIH - "To Walk in the Beauty Way": Treating Opioid Use Disorder in Native Communities

NIH - "To Walk in the Beauty Way": Treating Opioid Use Disorder in Native Communities
Posted 10/22/2020

The NIH Heal initiative, "To Walk in the Beauty Way": Treating Opioid Use Disorder in Native Communities seeks to incorporate medication-based treatment into Native healing traditions that embrace spiritual and cultural elements in addition to physical and psychological considerations for treating OUD. Funded through the Helping to End Addiction Long-term Initiative, or NIH HEAL Initiative, a new study on the “two-eyed seeing” approach uses both Western and indigenous worldviews. Its goal is to create an evidence-based, sustainable, and culturally-centered intervention to support programs serving AI/AN people who have opioid use disorder (OUD). The 4-year project will advance HEAL’s research on overcoming barriers to treatment for people with OUD. A key element of the project is an 18-member collaborative board formed by tribal leaders and Elders, OUD treatment providers in tribal communities, researchers, including an ethnobotanist (an expert in local use native plants), and people who are in recovery from OUD. At the end of the study, the researchers and collaborative board hope to have a menu of traditional practices that could be integrated with medication-based treatment for different Native groups to help people achieve recovery. As one researcher stated, “The researchers also hope that the study will lead to a successful culturally-centered intervention, and that this more holistic approach will hold lessons for other indigenous communities and even mainstream society.” After the planning phase has been completed, the researchers hope to begin testing the intervention in 2021.