Define Your Direction: Tackling the Opioid Epidemic in the Chickasaw Nation


In 2014, Oklahoma ranked 10th in the nation for drug overdose deaths (20.4 deaths per 100,000). From 2007 to 2015, more than 5,900 Oklahomans died of unintentional poisonings; 80% of those deaths involved at least one prescription drug, and 75% of all unintentional poisoning deaths involved at least one prescription opioid. American Indians in Oklahoma have a higher unintentional poisoning death rate than any other race in the state. In order to combat this growing epidemic, the Chickasaw Nation used grant funding provided by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) and the Southern Plains Tribal Health Board to create a comprehensive prescription opioid abuse prevention movement known as Define Your Direction. Define Your Direction utilizes multiple strategies aimed at increasing awareness, reducing access, and preventing overdose deaths. 


The presenter will:

  1. Highlight the various components of the Chickasaw Nation’s prescription drug abuse prevention movement;
  2. Discuss the challenges experienced during the movement’s development and implementation phases; and
  3. Share the successes of this movement.



Miranda Willis

Strategic Prevention Data Analyst/Tribal Liaison, Chickasaw Nation



Miranda Willis is a member of the Chickasaw Nation. She earned her Bachelor of Science (BS) in environmental health science from East Central University (OK) in 2014 and currently is pursuing her Masters of Public Health (MPH) at Creighton University (NE). Ms. Willis began working for the Chickasaw Nation Research and Population Health Division as an intern in 2012 and now serves as its Strategic Prevention Data Analyst/Tribal Liaison for the Partnerships for Success grant. Partnerships for Success focuses on preventing underage drinking and prescription drug abuse/misuse in the young adult population living in the Chickasaw Nation.


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