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Wyoming tribe declares state of emergency over meth use


The Northern Arapaho Business Council has unanimously approved a resolution declaring a state of emergency due to methamphetamine usage “that has reached a crisis level and threatens to permanently damage the wellbeing of the Tribe.” This, according to an announcement on the Northern Arapaho Tribe website.

“As duly-elected representatives of the Northern Arapaho Tribe, we’re fully committed to ensuring the health, safety and well-being of our community,” said NABC Chairman Lee Spoonhunter. “Methamphetamine touches every corner of the Wind River Indian Reservation. We will use every available resource and coordinate as appropriate with federal, state and local authorities to combat this epidemic and protect the Northern Arapaho people.”

As part of its resolution, the NABC says they will establish and supervise a special Methamphetamine Task Force dedicated to finding solutions the crisis, which they say has contributed to disproportionately high rates of poverty, unemployment, substance abuse, violent crime, death and suicide in the Northern Arapaho community.

“Methamphetamine and the drug trade have frequently been at the root of homicides and disappearances involving Tribal members,” the Northern Arapaho Tribe said in a social media post Thursday.

Members for the task force are still pending.

The tribe’s announcement says that the members will develop and issue recommendations to combat the rising distribution and usage of methamphetamine.

Specifically, the tribe says members will be charged with identifying:

  • Factors causing the crisis on the Wind River Reservation
  • Specific resources needed to address the crisis
  • Recommendations on how to fight the crisis
  • Measurable goals (including timeframes) for the Tribe to work toward and gauge its progress in addressing the usage of methamphetamine on the reservation.

The Task Force is directed to present its findings to the NABC within two months of the appointment of its members.

This article originally appeared on Oil City News. Used with permission.