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Perceptions of Methamphetamine Use in Three Western Tribal Communities: Implications for Child Abuse in Indian Country

NCJ Number
Roe Bubar; Marc Winokur; Winona Bartlemay
Date Published
January 2007
58 pages
The findings and methodology are reported for a survey of three western tribal communities to assess their perceptions and awareness of the prevalence of methamphetamine use among tribal people and the resulting implications for child maltreatment, permanency outcomes for children and their families, and agency workloads.
In the circulation of this study's questionnaire, respondents were sought from the areas of law enforcement, social services, tribal courts, probation, domestic violence, services for children, Head Start, mental health, prosecution, juvenile justice, housing, and addictions. They expressed their perceptions of the prevalence of methamphetamine use among tribal members and the implications of family members' meth addiction for children. The survey data show that there is a significant problem with meth use in Indian country, with adverse consequences for children, women, families, and the tribal system as a whole. Professionals working with families in tribal communities report increases in the incidence of child abuse and neglect, domestic violence, and sexual assault. This is attributed largely to the adverse behaviors of persons with meth addiction. The data on perceptions collected in this survey are supported by recent data collected by the Bureau of Indian Affairs and Office of Justice Services from 96 Indian country law enforcement agencies, which suggest that meth is the greatest threat to community safety and welfare. Tribal law enforcement agencies reported increases in domestic violence, assaults, burglaries, and child abuse. In commenting on efforts to address meth addiction, this survey report suggests the value of supporting and promoting cultural identity as the foundation for prevention and treatment programming for children and adults. An introductory literature review precedes the report on survey results. 20 tables, 61 references, and appended survey questionnaire