Combating The Opioid Crisis In Indian Country

Feb 4, 2020

Mendocino County’s Native American community has been especially hard hit with the opioid crisis. 


For 2018, Mendocino County ranked fifth in the state for opioid overdoses with a rate of 13.7 deaths per 100,000 residents. 


But that number nearly doubles for Mendocino County Native Americans - which saw a rate of 25.37 deaths per 100, 000 residents, according to the on-line data detailed in the California Opioid Dashboard (


In an effort to educate and train Native American stakeholders and tribal leaders, a Narcan training and education workshop was held on January 31 at the Consolidated Tribal Health project in Redwood Valley. It isn’t necessary to attend a Narcan training in order to carry and administer the antidote, but it’s highly recommended.


The Jan. 31 Narcan training was part of the California Rural Indian Health Board’s response to the opioid crisis in Indian Country around the state and here in Mendocino County.


Narcan is the trade name for Naloxone  - you’ll often hear those words used interchangeably. And it works to reverse an opioid overdose sometimes in as fast as 3 minutes.


The Narcan antidote can revive people from the brink of death. Narcan is a nasal spray. It looks like a common antihistamine -  which squirts right into the nose. It isn’t dangerous to the person administering it, and it wont hurt  anyone who doesn’t have opioids in their system. 

And anyone administering Narcan is protected by the Good Samaritan law - unless the person helping someone suffering from an overdose is currently on parole. 


Narcan is now available for free at the Consolidated Tribal Health Project in Redwood Valley, MCAVHN (Mendocino County AIDS/Viral Hepatitis Network) in Ukiah, the Mendocino County Public Health Department and some Mendocino County tribal offices are offering Narcan as well. 


One Tribe, the Pinoleville Pomo Nation is slated to open a clinic soon in the former county probation department on Standley St. in Ukiah


Once it opens, it will be the state’s first Native American  Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT) clinic, offering medicines to combat opioid addiction such as Methadone, Suboxone and Buprenorphine. Narcan will also be available.

It will be called the “New Life Clinic,” and will offer clinical services to Native Americans as well for as non natives, including counseling, therapy, job training, child care, traditional and alternative medicine, as well as dispensing medicine. 




Culturally specific Native American resources for substance use disorder and recovery:


Consolidated Tribal Health Project

Redwood Valley

(707) 467-5616


At Consolidated Tribal Health Project:

Debbie Swayze, Substance Abuse Counselor

(707) 467-5660


Tribal Community Support Groups

Red Road Groups


Sherwood Valley Band of Pomo Indians

Celebrating the Red Road

Community Room

Wednesdays 5:30 pm


Hopland Band of Pomo Indians

Walking the Red Road to Wellness and Healing

Mondays 4 to 5 p.m.

Hopland Healthy Living Center

3000 Shanel Rd. in Hopland

Paul (707) 472-2100 x 1200


Cahto Healthy Living Group

Cahto Tribal Office meeting room in Laytonville

On the last Friday of every month

12:000-1:00 pm

Doris Sloan (707) 467-5644


Pinoleville Pomo Nation

Red Road

Tuesdays & Thursdays from 10 to 11 am

776 S. State St., Suite 101 in Ukiah.

(707) 462-7801


Redwood Valley Rancheria

Red Road

Thursdays at  6:00 pm

Tribal Office at 3250 Road I in Redwood Valley

Martin Martinez at (707) 485-0361 


Indian Senior Center

Red Road to Wellness

425 N. State Street, Ukiah

Mondays at 6:00 pm


Traditional Healer Sessions

CTHP is resuming Traditional Native American healing services for eligible CTHP patients.

 (707) 467-5645 


Ford Street Project

Sweat Ceremonies open to the pubic every Sunday (except the last Sunday of the month)

139 Ford St., Ukiah

(707) 462-1934


Tribal Medication Assisted Treatment Project (TMAT)

Visit the Department of Healthcare Services at


Tamika Bennett, project coordinator:

(916) 929-9761 x 1527


California Consortium for Urban Indian Health

(415) 345-1205


Mendocino County Behavioral Health 

(707) 467-5645


Mendocino County Safe Rx Opioid Safety Coalition