Native American Drug and Alcohol Rehab Programs

Native Americans have a higher rate of mental health disorders than other ethnicities. Native Americans also report higher rates of substance abuse. We recognize a special need for Native American drug and alcohol rehab programs. Our programs integrate the cultural needs and beliefs Native American patients. Research has shown that this is key to lifelong recovery.

In 2018, Colorado State University found that Native American youth abuse illicit drugs more than their counterparts in other demographics. “A survey comparing drug use among Native American youth living on or near reservations to a national sample of American youth found that Native American youth report substantially higher use of alcohol, marijuana, cigarettes, and other illicit drugs.”

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) recently released its annual National Survey on Drug Use and Health. It reveals that 350,000 Native American adults had a mental health disorder. 10.8 percent of them had an addiction. 18.7 percent had a mental illness. 3.8 percent had a mental illness and an addiction simultaneously. These numbers are certainly alarming.

Previously, researchers focused their addiction studies on white men. More recently, they’ve broadened their studies to include other age groups, genders, and ethnicities. We’ve learned a lot by studying addiction by demographic. Most noteworthy, there’s an urgent need for Native American drug and alcohol rehab programs.

Native American Drug and Alcohol Rehab Programs Treat Historical Trauma

SAMHSA points out that there’s still a lot of research to do. “Also, while there is general awareness that Native Americans experience higher rates of alcohol and substance use, the scope of these behavioral health problems is not fully understood.”

Thanks to past studies, we understand that a combination of factors can make an impact on substance and recovery. Common factors include poverty, under-employment, and housing challenges. SAMSHA explains that Native Americans experience some unique factors, as well. Historical trauma, for example, makes a significant impact on health outcomes for Native Americans.

Historical trauma is a culture’s shared memory of a violent, unresolved event. Slavery, the Holocaust, and the vicious colonization of Native Americans are examples of historical trauma.

“Descendants who have not directly experienced a traumatic event can exhibit the signs and symptoms of trauma,” says Administration of Children and Families. Individuals suffering from personal trauma are more likely to experience historical trauma. Trauma frequently leads to substance abuse and addiction. For that reason, adequate Native American drug and alcohol rehab programs are critical.

Native American Drug and Alcohol Rehab Programs Are Covered by AHCCCS

Native Americans would benefit from a variety of other resources, as well. However, some barriers stand in the way of getting services to this demographic. SAMHSA identified complications to delivering services to Native American communities. Their list includes personnel shortages, travelling distances, and lack of health care facilities.

Therefore, they made a commitment to do their part in treating indigenous people. “[Our] mission is to provide efficient and effective delivery of resources and services to ensure that American Indians and Alaska Natives have access to prevention, treatment, and recovery support services that reflect the best of modern science and traditional cultural practices,” they say on their website.

Arizona’s Medicaid program (AHCCCS) follows federal guidelines. Therefore, the program offers treatment and other resources for the program’s Native American members. Additionally, they may select to sign onto the American Indian Health Program (AIHP).

AIHP members can choose healthcare providers and facilities on 638 programs, as well as addiction treatment providers. The AHCCCS points out, “. . . members can switch their enrollment between AHCCCS AIHP and an AHCCCS managed health care plan and back again at any time.”

What to Expect from Native American Addiction Treatment

Culture, traditions, and language play important roles in the life of most Native Americans. For that reason, Native American drug and alcohol rehab programs tend to have better recovery results. Recovery in Motion takes this to heart. Our Native American treatment programs differ in these ways. We take their specific needs for recovery into consideration when creating your individual plan.

We integrate evidence-based treatments into individualized treatment plans for Native Americans. This allows us to maximize the benefits of both treatment approaches. We’ve found that this has led to longer periods of recovery, as well as more lifetime recoveries.

Native American ideals are the backbone of each phase of recovery. A medical supervision ensures the safety of our patients’ health. We turn to traditional Native American techniques to increase comfort. We also use medications to aid in physical and mental comfort during withdrawals.

Next, our Native American patients and their counterparts move to the treatment phase of recovery. This is when individual and group therapies begin. Other treatment approaches, such as life skills, benefit most of our patients, as well. An adequate treatment program should last at least 90 days for most people, regardless of demographic.

Aftercare comes after all our Native American drug and alcohol rehab programs. This is another key to long-lasting recovery. Your therapist works with you during treatment to develop an aftercare program that works for you.

If you’re a Native American who needs substance abuse treatment, you’re not alone. We can help. Contact us today to get started on your recovery. Our specialized programs are designed with Native Americans’ unique needs in mind.


[1] “American Indian Health Program (AIHP) (Health Plan ID #999998).” AHCCCS,

[2] National Institute on Drug Abuse. “Higher Rate of Substance Use Among Native American Youth on Reservations.” National Institute on Drug Abuse, 3 June 2020,

[3] National Institute on Drug Abuse. “How Long Does Drug Addiction Treatment Usually Last?” National Institute on Drug Abuse, 3 June 2020,

[4] “Trauma.” Administration for Children and Families,

[5] “Tribal Affairs.” SAMHSA,