FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Oct. 4, 2018
OKMULGEE, Okla. – As a result of the National Opioid Crisis, Muscogee (Creek) Nation has reacted by filing a federal lawsuit against major opioid manufacturers distributors and pharmacies; now the Nation is using grant funding to combat the epidemic throughout its 11-county jurisdiction.
The most recent grant for $943,088 was awarded through the U.S. Department of Justice Comprehensive Opioid Abuse Program (COAP) to fund a master data platform with three specific goals the tribe will implement.
The overall strategy of the MCN’s COAP is to establish the platform that will track and identify patient trends within the MCN Department of Health system, create a multidisciplinary task force for internal policy and procedures to prevent and treat opioid use disorder and finally, allow MCNDOH to expand treatment options through additional certification and training of providers.
Since the opioid epidemic became a forefront of the Nation’s concerns, MCNDOH has been awarded four opioid-related grants totaling close to $2 million in funding.
The other grants include Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMSHA), Screening, Brief Intervention and Referral to Treatment (SBIRT) project, and funding from the Center for Disease Control.
MCN will utilize the collaboration of grants to provide treatment options for patients by opening an outpatient pain and addiction center.
MCN Secretary of Health Shawn Terry said the Tribal Health Management Structure grant will specifically fund the costs associated with creating an infrastructure that will allow the Nation to house multiple specialists and services in one Okmulgee, Okla. location.
MCNDOH anticipates once the Fiscal Year 2019 Budget is passed, the pain and addiction center should be up and running at the MCN Physical Rehabilitation Center.
Additional funding of $787,000 will allow the tribe to acquire a tracking system within the healthcare system and educate clinical staff on how to screen patients for signs of addiction or high-risk factors of abuse.
As a result of the lawsuit MCN filed in U.S. Federal Court, the Nation is one of only two tribes chosen as a test case for Tribal Track, which was created by Ohio Federal Judge Dan Poster for the tribal opioid litigation.
Terry said because of the tribe’s position on the national epidemic, it is paramount the Nation utilizes available funding to mitigate and prevent the problem.
“We are leading the country; we’re being the bellwether case on these lawsuits,” Terry said. “So, we’re going to lead the country in the lawsuit, we will also lead the country in having developed a program of how we’re addressing and using this funding. We have to be able to identify those people at risk and treat those people or refer them out.”