PREVIEW: Opioid Epidemic On South Dakota’s Indian Reservations


The opioid epidemic has made its way from both coasts to KELOLAND. But often overlooked in this crisis are South Dakota’s Indian Reservations. 

Native Americans have been disproportionately hit by this epidemic and tribes are now fighting the painkiller prescription problems. 

Four South Dakota tribes have joined dozens of others in lawsuits against big pharmaceutical makers and distributors. 

Tamara Stands And Looks Back–Spotted Tail found herself hooked on opioid painkillers after a bad car crash in 2008. 

“I’m sick; I’m gaining weight.  I feel like I don’t want to live anymore. I was sinking down into a deep depression,” Stands And Looks Back-Spotted Tail said. 

It took a couple of years for her to get to the underlying problem causing her pain. She says many Native Americans died on the reservation when Indian Health Services began cutting people off of their opioid prescriptions. 

Coming up tonight at 10, we see how the tribe is using a federal grant to expand its addiction treatment center, which mainly focuses on meth addiction now, to include more beds for those dealing with opioid dependency. 

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