SAMHSA is required under the Tribal Law and Order Act (TLOA) of 2010 to lead efforts to coordinate existing federal resources and those established under the TLOA designed to combat alcohol and substance abuse in tribal communities. SAMHSA works with the Department of Justice (DOJ), the Department of the Interior (DOI), and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to assist American Indian and Alaska Native communities in achieving their goals in prevention, intervention, and treatment of alcohol and substance abuse.
What is a Tribal Action Plan?
The Tribal Action Plan (TAP) coordinates resources and programs to help tribes achieve their goals for preventing, treating, and recovering from substance use disorders.
TAPs are designed to help communities:
- Assess the scope of a tribe’s alcohol and drug use problems
- Identify and direct available resources and programs toward prevention and treatment
- Establish and prioritize goals and efforts to meet those goals
- Identify the roles of community stakeholders and family members in addressing community concerns
TAP Workgroups and Guidelines
In conformity with a Memorandum of Agreement between HHS, DOI, and DOJ (PDF | 2.6 MB), SAMHSA established the Indian Alcohol and Substance Abuse Interdepartmental Coordinating Committee, which includes workgroups to carry out its mission.
The TAP workgroup responds to tribal requests for technical assistance in TAP development, providing support where feasible. The Inventory/Resources workgroup is tasked with preparing and making available a list of national, state, tribal, and local behavioral health programs and resources to help tribes develop a tribal action plan (TAP). The Inventory/Resources workgroup, in collaboration with the Native Youth Educational Services workgroup and other related workgroups, also provides resources for Programs for Native Youth.
The TAP workgroup of the Indian Alcohol and Substance Abuse Interdepartmental Coordinating Committee in 2011 published the Tribal Action Plan Guidelines (PDF | 411 KB). The guidelines offer:
- Model frameworks to help tribes customize TAPs to meet their community’s needs
- Examples of Training and Technical Assistance SAMHSA offers to tribes to help with TAP development
- Sample tribal resolution template (PDF | 161 KB)
Tribes should send their tribal resolutions to the Office of Indian Alcohol and Substance Abuse (OIASA), which will then coordinate with the appropriate interdepartmental coordinating committee workgroups on your TAP.
Implementing a TAP
A tribal government or tribal consortium may choose to adopt a resolution that establishes a TAP. This helps to coordinate available resources and programs.
To ensure TAP effectiveness, the tribal resolution should create a Tribal Coordinating Committee. Responsibilities of a Tribal Coordinating Committee include:
- Implementing, reviewing, and evaluating the TAP
- Making recommendations
- Coordinating technical assistance
TAP Development Steps
Once a Tribe has established a Tribal Coordinating Committee, the next steps to developing a TAP are to:
- Identify existing strengths and resources (people, programs, policies, equipment, and events).
- Assess needs and resources related to substance misuse.
- Coordinate existing and future resources.
- Identify gaps in existing services.
- Develop a comprehensive and coordinated strategy that contains goals, anticipated outcomes, activities, responsibilities, and assessments
- Collaborate with stakeholders to identify urgent and emerging substance use issues.
Assistance in developing a TAP is available for all American Indian and Alaska Native Tribal Nations, and for rural and urban organizations that serve Native communities. To request technical assistance with developing a TAP or other types of TTA, contact the Tribal TTA Center.
Consider joining the TAP Community, and online forum for discussing TAPs and sharing documents, training resources and announcements, worksheets, and more.
- Sample tribal leader letter (PDF | 1.7 MB)
- Frequently Asked Questions (PDF | 58 KB)
- Grants, programs, and resources (PDF | 311 KB)
TAP Regional Contacts
SAMHSA’s regional directors represent the agency in the national, regional, state and local communities and connect with stakeholders.
Bureau of Indian Education (BIE) TAP Regional Points of Contact
Arizona Navajo Central
Arizona Navajo North
Arizona Navajo South
Arizona North (Hopi)
Eric North (Acting)
Arizona South (Phoenix)
Dr. Cherie Farlee