Substance Abuse in American Indian Youth

It is a fact that the American Indian Youth is most sensitive to the problems regarding substance abuse. According to a report by this problem is often associated with the socioeconomic growth of the society. Substance abuse among the American Indian youth has a great impact on their capability to function as a responsible human being and, therefore, impedes the progress of the society they belong in.

National surveys fall short of completely capturing the real extent of the issue which only makes it hard to resolve. A new study that focused on the rates of substance use of American Indian students showed distressing patterns. The study also showed an alarming rate of drug use at a very early age.

Significantly, American Indian youth surprisingly learn to drink alcoholic beverages and use drugs earlier than their native groups. Issues such as peer group pressure, the absence of parental guidance, and conflicting cultural ideals all contribute to the issue of substance use at an early age.

The results from the study reveal that substance use in the American Indian youth is a major problem especially at 8th graders where the frequency of substance abuse was higher. Some of the substance use-related problems are academic failure, criminal behavior, suicide, and alcohol-related death.

Preventing Substance Abuse in American Indian Youth

Fortunately, there are always ways to prevent substance abuse from ever happening. Some of them are as follows:

  1. Parents should be diligent in guiding their children. As parents, they should always spend time with their children. A child who can feel that they can tell their parents any problems they encounter tend to feel more secure and comfortable.
  2. Parents must get to know their child’s friends. They should find time getting to know their child’s friends. This is to make sure they are not a bad influence on their child.
  3. As parents, they should coordinate with teachers in school about their child’s progress. One of the most common problems that American Indian Youth encounter is academic Parents and teachers should reach out to each other to continuously monitor their child’s performance. As a parent, it is your role to discuss how you can help your child to cope with any academic difficulty.
  4. Encourage your children to be involved in any school programs. By doing so, you will help them develop their social skills. They will experience winning and losing. Sports will help pursue and find a motivation to win.
  5. Help your children recover from substance abuse. If you found out that your child is using drugs, offer him help. Find a reliable support group or a dependable medical facility that will help them recover from addiction and educate them on how to pass a drug test.


Early intervention such as close family relationships, good company, and evidently instilled good values are proven to reduce substance abuse in American Indian youth. Every child needs to be loved and guided by their parents. The Family Spirit that is modified for the American Indian youth is proven to be an effective way of early intervention, and this has resulted in positive results. Given that most American Indian youth are already involved in drug-related activities by the time they are teens, it’s only imperative that we get involved early.

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