HOLDING HOPE SERIES | Osage Nation Treatment Center Focuses on Culturally Relevant Ways to Lead Drug- and Alcohol-Free Lifestyle

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Nearly 140 million Americans over the age of 12 use alcohol and nearly the same number have used illicit drugs in their lifetime, according to the National Center for Drug Abuse Statistics.

Substance abuse is a problem in the United States, and the Osage Nation is committed to helping combat the problem among both tribal citizens and residents in the community. 

The Osage Nation Primary Residential Treatment (PRT) center is a drug and alcohol residential treatment program administered by the Osage Nation Counseling Center. PRT is a 60-day program for men and women suffering from substance abuse. This program was developed to encourage and prepare Native Americans for a drug- and alcohol-free lifestyle. 

PRT was established in 2000 to serve Native American men and women aged 18 and above throughout the state and the adjoining states. 

“PRT is a Native American specific, 60-day, residential treatment center for adult men and women,” said Stacy Lookout, director of PRT. “Our program is based on the 12 Steps of A.A and N.A. with other evidenced based treatment approaches, like cognitive behavioral therapy. We incorporate Native American values and culture with evidence-based treatment to offer a culturally competent treatment experience. During their stay, clients will have the opportunity to participate in a variety of different groups and activities that focus on mental health, substance use, parenting, and life skills as well as cultural groups, like drum-making, and sweat. Our culture is strength and we encourage our clients to identify with their culture and find that connection and fellowship. A fellowship in both culture and sobriety.”

PRT is currently undergoing certification for Wellbriety, which uses The Red Road to Wellbriety, a sobriety, recovery and wellness workbook for Native Americans written by Native Americans. Weekly Wellbriety meetings follow the teachings of the Native American Medicine Wheel and traditional 12-step programs like AA and NA.

“We are so excited to offer Wellbriety groups at PRT. This is something new for us. We were awarded a grant that allowed us to train our staff and several community members on Wellbriety and how to be an ally for those seeking recovery.” Lookout said. “We try to focus on whole person wellness and eliminating any barriers to long-term success. We focus a lot on case management. From day 1, we are assisting with resumes, housing applications and after-care. If we can get some of those needs met during treatment that is one less obstacle they have to overcome.”

 “Years ago, we were strictly a substance use facility,” she said. “But what we found was probably 90% of our clients come in with an underlying mental health issue or severe trauma. We then transitioned into a dual-diagnosis treatment center and became nationally, CARF certified.”

The residential program serves between 40 to 50 people per year. At the time of its creation, men and women were served in one building. In 2015, PRT stopped serving women temporarily. In 2017, PRT became accredited to serve co-occurring clients, and the curriculum was revised. In 2018, a separate women’s house was opened and began serving clients.

Services for men and women are provided in separate facilities. The men’s house is located in Barnsdall, Oklahoma, which has dormitory-style bedrooms, a classroom, a living room, and kitchen/dining area. The entire building is handicap accessible, with one bathroom containing a roll-in shower. The atmosphere is safe and welcoming. There are cultural pictures on the walls, and the sweat is located at this location.  The women’s house is located in Pawhuska, Oklahoma. The women’s house is built like a home. There are three women in each bedroom, and the house is handicap accessible. In both houses, meals are served family style, with everyone gathering at the table. Chores are shared between clients and staff.

PRT focuses on comprehensive services specific to men and women and their unique problems which include assistance with legal problems, medical care, social services, financial training, mental health counseling, cultural diversity, social support, housing assistance, literacy training, and education needs as well as alcohol and drug treatment. Family counseling is offered to assist clients in re-establishing relationships with their family members and to teach clients coping mechanisms in order to maintain these relationships. Once the client leaves treatment, they are referred to an aftercare program to assist them in maintaining sobriety.

The Osage Nation is currently preparing to develop a transitional living facility and residential center for both adolescent and adult individuals. It will also include administrative and counseling offices. Osage Nation Congressional Speaker Jodie Revard sponsored the bill, which appropriated $12 million of American Rescue Plan (ARP) Act funds towards the purchase and development of the property. ARP funds are used due to behavioral health needs and public health impacts exacerbated by the pandemic.

“We are the largest county in Oklahoma and currently there are no options for transitional living,” Lookout said. “So we want to offer that as an option for post-treatment care. It would be a step-down from the more structured residential setting to a more independent setting. Clients would be able to work, attend meetings on their own while still having that protective environment." 

About the Series: 

The Holding Hope Series focuses on sharing ways the Osage Nation Primary Residential Treatment (PRT) Center supports individuals suffering from substance abuse. If you or a loved one needs support, please call (918) 287-5413. #holdinghope