Tribal Medication-Assisted Treatment Projects

Funding for all the work below was provided by the California Department of Health Care Services (DHCS) [contract # 17-94722], through the California Opioid State Targeted Response (STR) to the Opioid Crisis Grant from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). The report contents are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of DHCS.

Addressing the Opioid Crisis in American Indian & Alaska Native Communities in California: A Statewide Needs Assessment

A collaborative research team comprised of American Indian and Alaska Native researchers, urban Indian agency partners, Tribal entities, and students and staff from the University of Southern California (USC) conducted research from March – November 2018 with Tribal and urban populations throughout the state of California culminating in Addressing the Opioid Crisis in American Indian & Alaska Native Communities in California: A Statewide Needs Assessment. This report recognizes the need to address the opioid overdose crisis in AIAN communities in California and aims to identify gaps in prevention, treatment, and recovery services (including medication-assisted treatment, or MAT) targeted to these communities.

To receive a physical copy of any of these reports, please email
Dr. Claradina Soto at

Tribal Response to the Opioid Epidemic in California: A Community Report

USC was tasked with evaluating the efforts of five Tribal medication assisted treatment (MAT) programs in California. These five programs, which serve American Indian and Alaska Natives (AIAN), are using Tribal MAT funding to increase accessibility and use of MAT services with the larger goal of reducing opioid overdose deaths. The scope of work for each program is unique based on what type of services each program could offer. This report outlines the progress of these five programs.

Urban American Indians and Alaska Natives Experiencing Homelessness in California: Strategies for Addressing Housing Insecurities and Substance Use Disorder

As an extension of the broader statewide needs assessment report, this study specifically focused on urban American Indian and Alaska Natives (AIAN) experiencing homelessness to access to substance use treatment. The USC research team collaborated with partners from AIAN community-based organizations to conduct interviews with AIAN individuals experiencing homelessness in Los Angeles, Oakland, San Francisco, Sacramento, and San Diego. The results and recommendations are available in this comprehensive community report.

Mapping the Network of Care: Substance Use Treatment and Recovery Services for American Indians and Alaska Natives in California

This report is an addendum to the Tribal MAT Project Evaluation Report that was submitted to the California Department of Health Care Services (DHCS) in September 2020. This report details the efforts and results of data gathered from California Tribal and Urban Indian Health Programs and community-based treatment programs to understand the recovery services available and gaps in services that need to be addressed to reduce substance use disorder (SUD).

Understanding the Tobacco Retail Environment on Tribal Lands in California

In California, there are many unique and diverse Tribal communities, and this project aimed to understand the retail environment by reaching retailers who sold commercially available tobacco products (i.e., cigarettes, chew/dip, cigars, electronic cigarettes/vapes) on or nearby Tribal lands (within a one-mile radius). Retailers included convenience stores with or without a gas station, grocery stores, tobacco shops, Tribal casinos that sold commercial tobacco, and liquor stores. Tribal retailers included these store types on Tribal lands, and off-Tribal retailers included these store types in nearby proximity to Tribal lands. This work was made possible by funds from the USC Tobacco Center for Regulatory Sciences in Vulnerable Populations (Pentz/Samet) Project 2 “Maximizing Retailers’ Responsiveness to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Regulatory Authority in Vulnerable Communities” (Baezconde-Garbanati), grant number P50-CA-180905-01 from the National Cancer Institute and the FDA Center of Tobacco Products (CTP).

California American Indian Community Readiness Project: Commercial Tobacco Control Policies

The goal of the Statewide American Indian Community Readiness Project was to conduct an assessment of Tribal readiness to work on key commercial tobacco-related policy and systems changes with 12 regionally diverse Tribal communities from Southern, Central, and Northern California. As part of this assessment, the project also worked with Tribal groups to develop relationships and inform tobacco control strategic planning efforts. Five key commercial tobacco-related policies were assessed and included Tobacco 21, a tobacco tax, smoke-free worksites on Tribal lands, smoke-free households, and smoke-free indoor and outdoor areas in multi-unit housing (where applicable). There were 44 key informant interviews and eight focus groups conducted to build relationships, assess community norms, and document best approaches to address five key areas of interest in commercial tobacco-related policies. This work was made possible by funds from the California Department of Public Health, California Tobacco Control Programs.

American Indian Youth: PSA, Photovoice & Digital Storytelling

This project was a pilot study to provide one of the first evaluated American Indian youth driven media campaigns in California focused on Digital Storytelling, Photovoice, and Public Service Announcements (PSAs) using participatory methodology to empower and engage youth in fostering research with rather than on American Indian people. American Indian youth and young adults were provided the opportunity to develop and present culturally specific media projects that resonate within Tribal communities to: increase the knowledge, attitude and intended behaviors to using commercial tobacco products; create awareness of needed policies; and encourage the adoption of prevention programs in Indian health clinics and educational settings. 

For more information, contact

Claradina Soto, PhD, MPH
Assistant Professor of Clinical, Preventive Medicine
University of Southern California