Substance abuse prevention in American Indian and Alaska Native Communities

Les B. Whitbeck, Melissa L. Walls, Melissa L. Welch

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

59 Scopus citations


In this article we review three categories of American Indian/Alaska Native (AIAN) substance abuse prevention programs: (1) published empirical trials; (2) promising programs published and unpublished that are in the process of development and that have the potential for empirical trials; and (3) examples of innovative grassroots programs that originate at the local level and may have promise for further development. AIAN communities are taking more and more independent control of substance abuse prevention. We point out that European American prevention scientists are largely unaware of the numerous grassroots prevention work going on in AIAN communities and urge a paradigm shift from adapting European American prevention science "best practices" to creating cultural "best practices" by working from inside AIAN communities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)428-435
Number of pages8
JournalAmerican Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 2012
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (DA13580) and the National Institute of Mental Health (MH67281), Les B. Whitbeck, Principal Investigator.


  • American Indian Alaska Native substance abuse prevention
  • Prevention science
  • Substance abuse


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