Health Promotion Strategies: Alcohol and Substance Abuse

Screening and counseling related to alcohol and other substance use can be a highly sensitive area. Culturally appropriate strategies need to be discussed with mental health experts who work with the Alaska Native community to reduce the prevalence of substance abuse.

When treating substance abuse, the programs for Alaska Native older adults that promote traditional ways from the core of the program would be more effective than programs that promote a Euro-American philosophy of treatment. There are substance abuse programs in Alaska that promote traditional activities and philosophies and encourage connection between the mind, body and spirit.

Substance Abuse Programs in Alaska

The following list includes the primary substance abuse programs available in Alaska, smaller regional facilities and programs are also available.

Hudson Lake Healing Camp
Copper River Native Association
Phone: 907-822-8835

Hudson Lake Healing Camp is a 40-day program that offers year around treatment in a serene environment. The program offers a Talking Circle on a daily basis as a way to share personal feelings without feedback or cross talk. There is also a Traditional Athabascan Steam House for those who wish to take part. Clients learn healthy ways to express feelings, grow spiritually, and bring self-respect back into their lives.

Old Minto Family Recovery Camp
Tanana Chiefs Conference
201 First Avenue • Fairbanks, AK. 99701
Phone: 907-452-8251 ext.3144 • Toll Free: 1-800-478-6822 ext. 3144
Fax: 907-459-3835

The mission of the Old Minto Recovery Camp (OMFRC) is to help people help themselves heal spiritually, emotionally, and mentally by drawing on the strength of the Native culture and traditional values. The primary goal of OMFRC is to provide Alaska Native individuals and families with skills to help them live healthy and substance-free lives within their communities. The program strives to increase the percentage of Alaskan Natives committed to long-term sobriety, cultural pride, and traditional Athabascan values. Tribal elders from Minto play a consultative role in developing and implementing services at the camp site. The most important aspect of the role is to ensure that materials and strategies are culturally appropriate and relevant.

Ernie Turner Center
Cook Inlet Tribal Council
4330 S. Bragaw St.• Anchorage, Alaska 99508
Phone: 907-550-2400 • Toll Free: 800-478-4786
Fax: 907-562-7332

Building upon the “therapeutic community” model of treatment, Residential Services has developed a “Therapeutic Village of Services” to emulate an Alaska Native village community. The program is an adaptation of the therapeutic community model and Alaskan Native Culture. The focus is on peer leadership through the Village Council.

There are three opportunities for work therapy to contribute to on-going sobriety: Alaska Native arts and crafts, food services, and facilities maintenance. Skill development is an integral component in each participant’s path to sobriety.

Patient services are provided through the System of Care, with services coordinated through Case Management. In addition to Case Managers, the residential unit is staffed by a licensed mental health clinician and a Medical Director. Residential services are composed of four distinct treatment units located at the Ernie Turner Center.


Recovery Services
Cook Inlet Tribal Council (CITC)
3600 San Jeronimo Drive, Suite 210 • Anchorage, AK 99508
Phone: 907-793-3200 • Toll Free: 877-985-5900
Fax: 907-793-3250

Recovery Services (RS)offers a comprehensive continuum of care for the Anchorage, Alaska Nativepopulation and others. TheRecovery Services Department strongly believes in the value of culturally competent service delivery and we ensure its inclusionthroughthe following practices:

  • Staff knowledge of the Native language of the participant: The Recovery Servicesdepartment has access tostaff who speak the major Alaska Native languages/dialects.
  • Staff sensitivity: CITC has achieved 64% Native hire. To assure Native representation on theRS management team, the department has established a Native management intern program to train talented Native staff into Director level positions, as openings occur. An Alaska Native holds the topmanagement position in the department. Additionally, as part of CITC’s orientation process for new employees, the history ofthe Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (ANCSA)and Alaska Native regional corporations is presented, as well as the intent of Native preference in hiring (Public Law 93-638).
  • Representation of the participant population in decision making: Both Alaska Native participants and staff were involved in designing the current Recovery Services System of Care through focus groups and Advisory Committee capacity. Further, theRecovery ServicesAdvisory Committee reviews evaluation findings prior to reporting.