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American Indian Alcohol Policies

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Project Summary:

Background American Indians have the nation's highest morbidity and mortality due to alcohol but also have opportunities to employ policies that could reduce harmful effects of drinking. Tribal sovereignty enables Native people to enact universal preventive legislation such as alcohol sales restrictions and alcohol taxes. Inconveniently, the most recent research on American Indian alcohol policy was conducted some 30 years ago. Given the numerous changes in Indian country over the last decades, tribal decision-makers need current information about Native alcohol policies. Specific Aims This project will identify the numerous policies related to alcohol adopted by the 562 federally recognized tribes and will initiate work to measure the effectiveness of those policies. The specific aims are: 1. To catalogue alcohol-related policies adopted by federally recognized American Indian and Alaska Native tribes; 2. To survey tribal leaders regarding implementation and effectiveness of alcohol-related policies in Indian country; and 3. To disseminate results to Native decision-makers in collaboration with the One Sky Center (the American Indian and Alaska Native National Resource Center for Substance Abuse Prevention and Treatment). Methods The project will include a review of tribal legislation pertaining to American Indian alcohol policy, a survey of tribal leaders, and a dissemination component. Study design: Native laws related to alcohol will be identified from the Federal Register which publishes all tribal legislation that includes criminal penalties. A survey instrument designed for use with tribal leaders will be constructed and pilot tested. Stratified sampling will be used to identify tribal leaders for the survey. Measures: Tribal leaders will be asked about enforcement and effectiveness of alcohol policies. The survey will also be used to validate information about Native alcohol policies obtained from the Federal Register. Analysis: Information about American Indian alcohol policies will be tabulated. Tribal leader opinions about Native alcohol policy implementation and effectiveness will be summarized. Tribal alcohol policies that appear exemplary will be identified. Dissemination: Results will be disseminated to tribal leaders in collaboration with the One Sky Center (the American Indian and Alaska Native National Resource Center on Substance Abuse Prevention and Treatment) which is supported by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. Communication between tribal policy-makers will be facilitated. The work will be highly relevant to Native decision-makers as they attempt to initiate and implement policies that will minimize harmful effects of alcohol among indigenous peoples.

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