March 6, 2024

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Philomena Kebec is part of the inaugural cohort of the Addiction Policy Scholars Program.

American Indians experience disproportionately high rates of drug overdose mortality and morbidity related to substance use. Social services and clinical programs often employ abstinence-based treatment models, which can be barriers to care for people actively using drugs. They also translate into economic loss for services provided to people who use drugs that would otherwise be billed to a third-party payor.

Tribal harm reduction programs occupy a unique space, with programming and services designed for people who are actively using drugs in a culturally-centered setting. This focus sets harm reduction apart from other available programming and can bridge community members who are actively using drugs to higher threshold services.

Philomena Kebec’s project focused on developing a model for sustainability for tribal harm reduction programming. Given the high rates of overdose morbidity and mortality among American Indians, harm reduction provides an important intervention point. However, limited funding mechanisms for tribal harm reduction constitute a major barrier to implementation in this population.

View the poster here.

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