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Tribe Confronts Opioids

Cheryl Frye-Cromwell of the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribal Council in Massachusetts announced an opioid outreach campaign last week, supported by HRSA's Region One staff in Boston. The deaths in 2016 of 11 young members of the tribe prompted Frye-Cromwell to reach out to HRSA.
Cheryl Frye-Cromwell of the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribal Council in Massachusetts announced an opioid outreach campaign last month, supported by HRSA's Region One staff in Boston. The deaths in 2016 of 11 young members of the tribe prompted Frye-Cromwell to reach out to HRSA.

 

"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." 

- Cheryl Frye-Cromwell,
announcing the HRSA partnership

Numbering around 12,000 at the time of first contact with European traders and seaman in the 1500-1600s, the Wampanoag peoples lived in dozens of villages in and around the Cape Cod region and mainland southeastern Massachusetts. A succession of epidemics in ensuing decades threatened their very existence. By 1675, according to tribal history, only about 1,000 survived.

Today, the tribe of around 3,000 members faces a new epidemic -- a widening opioid scourge.

Jeff Beard, HRSA Regional Administrator

Said HRSA Regional Administrator Jeff Beard on the occasion, “The number of tribal deaths is staggering. HRSA is here today to provide information that will save lives” in the form of an information and marketing campaign.

Together with help from the Indian Health Service (IHS), the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and HRSA, the tribe has established a drug take-back and Naloxone intervention program, treatment and aftercare services and a full-time substance abuse clinical case manager.

"The disease affects every family, every department and every program within our tribe,” Frye-Cromwell said. "It’s going to take our entire tribe to heal, and we need everyone to be educated on the epidemic.”

Based in Boston, ORO Region One serves Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont, offering grantees technical assistance, troubleshooting, conferences and more.

 

Stronger Together: (Left to right) Paul Jacobsen, HHS Region One Executive Officer.; John McGough, HHS Region One Regional Director; Taylor Bryan Turner, HUD; Desiree Hendricks-Moreno, IHS, Substance Use Disorder Case Manager; Cheryl Frye-Cromwell; Jeffrey Beard, HRSA Regional Administrator;  CAPT Christopher Bersani, Deputy Regional Administrator.
Stronger Together: (Left to right) Paul Jacobsen, HHS Region One Executive Officer.; John McGough, HHS Region One Regional Director; Taylor Bryan Turner, HUD; Desiree Hendricks-Moreno, IHS, Substance Use Disorder Case Manager; Cheryl Frye-Cromwell; Jeff Beard, HRSA Regional Administrator;  CAPT Christopher Bersani, Deputy Regional Administrator.

Date Last Reviewed:  April 2018