July 09, 2011

Healing Natives through hip hop

Healing Through Hip-Hop:  Youth Overcome Addictions at The Healing Lodge of the Seven Nations

By Jack McNeelThe Healing Lodge of the Seven Nations proves that music, and particularly hip-hop, can dramatically impact the recovery of youth from drug and alcohol addiction.

The Spokane Valley, Washington-based treatment center for drug and alcohol addicted youth—funded by the Indian Health Services and the State of Washington—houses 45 residents ages 13 to 17 years old, most of whom are American Indian.
And:Three years ago, Ricky “Deekon” Jones, a skills coach at the time and current Expressive Arts program manager, initiated a music-based program. “A lot of kids were getting discharged because of fighting or other aggressive behaviors,” Jones told ICTMN.

He created a survey to find out what the kids enjoyed and needed to move on and become successful. “When they turned it in, it was music,” Deekon said.
And:The creation of the Expressive Arts program lead to remarkable improvement in youth maintaining sobriety. An aftercare program that tracks the kids for two years after they leave showed that, prior to the program, 35 to 40 percent of former residents remained sober. “Today it’s about 79 to 80 percent,” Brad Meyers, program development and public relations coordinator, told ICTMN.

Successful results led The Healing Lodge of the Seven Nations to apply for the iAward (innovation award) given annually to drug and alcohol rehabilitation programs by The National Institute for Addictions Treatment and the State Associations of Addiction Services.
Comment:  For more on Native hip hop, see Hip-Hop Culture in Alaska and Hip-Hop Album for Leonard Peltier.

Below:  "Deekon Jones explained how he and the kids create music to visitors at the iAward reception." (Jack McNeel)

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