This is dedicated to Travis Holappa who was kidnapped, tortured and murdered on July 25, 2004 in Northern Minnesota. This was all due to meth. I am Travis' mother and I wish to make this devastation turn into a better thing by educating and exposing the truth about meth, the dangers, and the deadly consequences it brings about to individuals and communities.

My Photo
Location: Colorado, United States

I want to do what I can to educate people about what is going on around the world with the meth problem. I want people to know about it BEFORE they even get the idea to want to try it. It is a dangerous drug and will ruin your life as well as all those who love you. I am on a mission on behalf of my only son, Travis.

Monday, April 24, 2006

Drug abuse and suicide are top concerns of regional leaders (Indian Country, South Dakota)

by: David Melmer / Indian Country Today

David Melmer Indian Country -- Department of Health and Human Services Tribal Affairs Specialist Stacey Ecoffey told tribal leaders and federal officials that HHS is developing a program designed to tackle of disease, drug abuse and other health care issues on reservations.

RAPID CITY, S.D. - Emerging priorities in health care in Indian country are as diverse as Indian country itself and difficult to categorize. Federal and state health officials recently heard comments from tribal leaders and health care professionals who laid out a litany of concerns and complaints about health care. Many offered solutions to some of the problems, which range from alcohol and drug use, diabetes, lack of dialysis units, cancer, heart problems and other diseases, suicide and mental health. For some tribes, the latter two top the priorities list. Julia Doney, president of the Fort Belknap Tribal Council, lost one nephew to suicide; lost a granddaughter who was 20 days old; saved her son from suicide; and lost another nephew who is serving life in prison. ''He gets better health care [in prison],'' she said. This same nephew would jump off the bus on his way to Head Start disheveled, food on his face and overweight, Doney said, but he would jump into her arms when he saw her and hug her tight as if to say, ''I'm safe.'' ''I knew he didn't sleep. His parents had a party.

In a drunken and drug-induced stupor he shot a police officer. His health is now taken care of. He was not taken care of enough when he was young. ''There are children outside of their homes while parents fight inside. [The kids go outside] when [they] hear that the loud voices don't bother them anymore. Our communities are hurting,'' she said. Tribal leaders, she added, have not found the answers to ''stop the bleeding.'' ''When I seen, them I ask myself, 'What are you doing for them?' I beg for someone who has more power than I to help. ''If we are not well mentally, all the good food won't help,'' Doney said. More than one person told a story about a close relative - a son or daughter who committed suicide or who was addicted to alcohol or methamphetamine or other drugs. The stories brought a face to the priorities American Indian communities have in health care. ''When we talk about suicide, we see the bodies hanging from the ropes,'' said Jesse Taken Alive, Standing Rock Sioux tribal council member.

State health officials from four states in Region 8 of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services listened to the pleas for help. Many of those people were more than willing to partner with tribes to attempt improvements in health care. ''The region is willing to work with tribal governments,'' said Joe Nunez, director of HHS' Region 8. Most people at the consultation have been to numerous consultations in the past, and all agreed that very little is being done. Nunez made a commitment to meet with tribes and states and tribal colleges to work toward solutions. ''I've been to four of these consultations, and I agree with much of what was said here,'' said Hugh Baker, Three Affiliated Tribes, ''but I also agree that people come and share our frustrations but nothing happens.


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home