U.S. Attorney Mark Klaassen says his office is committed to doing its part and working with tribal leaders to combat methamphetamine on the Wind River Indian Reservation.

The Northern Arapaho Business Council last week unanimously approved a resolution declaring a state of emergency over the use of methamphetamine amid fears increasing drug use could threaten the tribe and its younger generations.

"Methamphetamine distribution and abuse has been a problem in Wyoming and on the Wind River Reservation for a long time, and I understand the frustration, the concern and the sense of urgency on this issue,” said Klaassen.

As part of its resolution, the NABC has called for the tribe to establish a task force to combat the distribution and abuse of methamphetamine on the reservation.

Leaders say better coordination is needed to stop a problem that is affecting those struggling with addiction and their families and also overwhelming tribal department budgets and employees.

"We must address the problem from all sides and understand the root causes," said Klaassen. "All of us must work to create strong families, communities, schools and other social structures that provide positive environments -- places that encourage drug resistance and provide paths to economic opportunity."

"We also need effective social services, mental health, and addiction recovery programs to help those who seek a path out of addiction toward a more productive life," he added.

Klaassen's office is responsible for prosecuting drug trafficking in Wyoming, in conjunction with federal, state and tribal law enforcement. Recent successful felony prosecutions involving the reservation have resulted in the prosecution of 10 drug-trafficking defendants.

"We have had some recent success, but there is always more that can be done," said Klaassen. "We look forward to working with the Northern Arapaho Task Force as an opportunity to reevaluate our efforts and make sure we are dedicating the federal resources necessary and taking the right approach to the fight against methamphetamine."


More From KGAB