Trending the evidence on opioid use disorder (OUD) continuum of care among rural American Indian/Alaskan Native (AI/AN) tribes: A systematic scoping review

Elias Mpofu, Stanley Ingman, Patricia Matthews-Juarez, Solymar Rivera-Torres, Paul D. Juarez

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


Background: American Indian/Alaskan Native (AI/AN) communities are second only to White Americans in mortality from opioid use disorder (OUD), while the smallest racial/ethnic minority population group in the USA. Those in rural communities experience significant health care disparities, including poorer treatment access for substance use disorder. This systematic scoping review aimed to trend the emerging evidence on opioid use disorder (OUD) management among rural AI/AN communities as well as workforce training needs. Method: We searched the Medline, Embase, PsycInfo, SSCI, and Digital theses databases for empirical study publications on OUD management among AI/AN rural communities across the continuum of prevention, treatment and care. Eight studies met the following criteria: (a) focused on OUD; (b) sampled rural AI/AN members; (c) investigated prevention, treatment and/or care perspectives and/or practices or health provider preparation; and (d) published during the period 2009–2020. Included studies met the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) quality control standards. Findings: Six of eight of the studies (75%) were surveys with community members and other stakeholders on OUD management within rural AI/AN communities rather than active interventions within this population. Moreover, five of eight of the studies (63%) reported a preference for culturally grounded health and wellness interventions with rural AI/AN, involving families, and community interventionists, utilizing community reinforcement approaches. Three of eight studies (37.5%) reported need for the cultural adaption of medication-assisted treatments (MAT) and use of culturally informed recovery care approaches. One of eight studies (12.5%) proposed to use culturally adapted contingency management behavioral approaches for OUD treatment and recovery care. Conclusion: The evidence is trending to endorse culturally adapted OUD management with rural AI/AN communities, prioritizing prevention education, and use of MAT with cultural adaptation and whole person approaches to sustainable recovery care. Mental health care should be a part OUD prevention, treatment and recovery care in rural AI/AN rural communities.

Original languageEnglish
Article number106743
JournalAddictive Behaviors
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2021


  • Alaskan Native
  • American Indian
  • Medically assisted treatments
  • Opioid use disorder
  • Prevention
  • Rural

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Toxicology
  • Psychiatry and Mental Health


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