Opioid Response Workgroup

We encourage a shared responsibility for the health, including behavioral health, of our Tribal and Urban Indian communities. Behavioral health includes substance use and issues and factors that contribute to it, as well as harm reduction, treatment, and recovery support services.

The Washington State American Indian and Alaska Native Opioid Response Workgroup (AI/AN ORW) was convened as a short-term workgroup to engage Tribal Leaders, Urban Indian Health Leaders, their staff, and Indian Health Care Organizations (IHCOs) to better understand the opioid crisis and to develop goals, objectives, and strategies to address the crisis in Indian Country in Washington State. This work is funded by Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) State Opioid Response Grants Funds through a contract with the Washington State Health Care Authority (HCA).

The AI/AN ORW’s goals, objectives, and strategies will strengthen our efforts to prevent and treat Opioid Use Disorder (OUD) in our communities and become a part of the statewide American Indian and Alaska Native Opioid Response Plan. 

Through the work and recommendations of the AI/AN ORW, AIHC has/will:

  • Developed an Indigenous methodology for assessing gaps and resources.  The AI/AN ORW adopted the Pulling Together for Wellness Indigenous methodology in 2019.
  • Conducted and presented gaps and resources assessment. The AI/AN ORW implemented an assessment in 2019 with an updated assessment in 2020 to understand the impact of COVID on this work. The AI/AN ORW may implement an updated assessment in 2022.
  • Develop goals, objectives, and strategies to address gaps. 
  • Present AI/AN ORW goals, objectives, and strategies. 
  • Develop and present an AI/AN ORW sustainability plan.
  • Host a statewide AI/AN Opioid Summit.
  • Submit a final report. 

The AI/AN ORW paused for most of 2021 as AI/AN communities attended to the health of communities during the COVID pandemic. The AIAN ORW resumed in March of 2022.


Project Manager: Lisa Rey Thomas, PhD, Tlingit

To Find Out More About This Group or to Join the Meetings Please Contact Vicki Lowe, vicki.lowe.aihc@outlook.com.