Like much of the surrounding communities, the opioid epidemic has continued to hit home in the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe. It’s an issue that the Tribe has refused to stay silent on, as they have taken an increasingly active role in combating the disease over the past few years. And now the Tribe is rolling out a new marketing campaign aimed at better educating the community on what opioids are and the actions that can be taken to combat the disease of opioid addiction and overdoses.
“Every tribal member we’ve lost to opioids has been a tragic loss to our community and it’s something we can’t stay silent on,” said Cheryl Frye-Cromwell, Mashpee Wampanoag tribal council member and government health and human services liaison. “Education and preparation are the driving forces behind our new marketing campaign.”
The new marketing campaign, which includes information sessions, brochures, wallet cards, posters and online material, are all geared at providing members of the community with the resources they need to make a positive difference. The campaign was developed thanks to a joint effort between the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe, its Tribal Coordinating Committee, Mashpee Wampanoag Health Service Unit and the U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration.
In 2016 the Tribe declared a “state of emergency” in response to the opioid epidemic. The declaration opened up the doors to additional funding and partnerships with the Federal Government to enhance the efforts currently underway. In the response, the Tribe received funding to support treatment and aftercare services and a full-time substance abuse clinical case manager who is actively engaged in the clinic and the community. The Tribe’s Coordinating Committee has strategically taken a proactive role in the fight against alcohol and substance abuse by creating a Tribal Action Plan that encompasses a department and community-wide approach.
“The disease affects every family, every department and every program within our tribe,” said Cheryl. “That’s why we’ve approached this in such a broad and inclusive manner. It’s going to take our entire tribe to heal and we need everyone to be educated on the epidemic.”