Join Laura Waterman Wittstock and Roy Taylor on Wednesday April 12 as they talk with Dana Farley and Nate Wright from the MN Department of Health to discuss opioid and other drug use among Indian people in Minnesota
Dana Farley is the MDH alcohol and drug policy specialist, and the project director for two CDC grants: prescription drug overdose initiative (DDPI / Data Drive Performance Improvement) and alcohol epidemiology; he also works with the MDH’s naloxone/NARCAN initiative. Dana has presented to the Minnesota Indian Affairs Council (MIAC) on MDH efforts in these areas. We recruited Dana from the University of Minnesota, where he had a joint appointment with the School of Public Health and Boynton Health Service.
Nate Wright is a Behavioral Epidemiology Fellow, in a position funded by the SAMHSA (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration) through CSTE (Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists). He is the project director for an epidemiologic investigation of opioid diversion, reported by currently incarcerated offenders in Minnesota’s prisons. This study was initiated at the behest of the MIAC, concerned that reservations are being targeted for the selling these diverted opioids. Nate is also the director of an epidemiologic investigation looking at all poisoning deaths among Minnesota’s American Indian population. It is suspected that many of the “unintentional” overdose deaths among American Indians may have a suicidal component: Nate is reviewing all of the 2015 and 2016 poisoning deaths for evidence of self-directed violence. Nate keeps the Minnesota Tribal Health Directors updated as to his progress. Nate is the MDH Epidemiologist for Overdose/Poisoning.