Alaska is known for its gorgeous landscape, bustling seafood industry, and historic native tribes. However, with each new year, Alaska is becoming more known for its problems. Specifically, the impact of addiction and the opioid epidemic. When more people are aware of the issues that the Alaskan population is facing, more people will be willing to get the help they need.
Addictions Alaskans Face
Alaska has been facing a problem with addiction for decades. Since the early 1900s, Alaska has been known for their high number of bars and liquor licenses. Plus, their rate of alcohol consumption, which still places the state at #6 in the country. However, alcohol isn’t their only problem substance. Today, like all other states in the U.S., Alaska is experiencing a rise in opioid overdose fatalities. And, is experiencing a number of consequences due to the continuous use and abuse of these dangerous substances.
Rising Deaths in Alaska due to Opioid Overdose
Unfortunately, Alaska isn’t free from the reach of the opioid epidemic. According to the DHSS’s Epidemiology Department report in 2016, 128 Alaskans died from a fatal overdose in that year alone. 74% of these deaths were a result of opioids like heroin and prescription opioids. And, 38% of these deaths were due directly to heroin use. While the numbers are not as high as other states, the percentage of individuals affected per the population number are astounding. In fact, to put it into perspective, more people are now dying of opioid-related causes than traffic-related causes in Alaska.
Financial Consequences Due to Opioid Epidemic in Alaska
Certainly, while these deaths are a horrifying consequence of our nation’s epidemic in Alaska, there are more consequences brought on by this increase in drug abuse. One of these consequences is the impact to the economy. The increase in drug abuse means an increase in people seeking treatment to get better. And, this has resulted in the depletion of state funds. Furthermore, the increase in drug use has resulted in a rise in government spending due to incarceration, general protective services (policing), and traffic incidents. Finally, not only is the government affected by this economic issue due to increased drug abuse but the general population as well. Businesses report an increase in productivity loss totaling a bill of $543 million. Additionally, with an uptick in hospital stays and spreading diseases like HIV, healthcare costs are soaring. Overall, the state’s total loss due to the nation’s opioid epidemic is a whopping $1.22 billion.
Help for Alaskans Struggling with Opioid Abuse
If you live in Alaska and are struggling with opioid dependency, seek help. You don’t have to be another statistic. You can establish a life of sobriety and work to develop a new lifestyle in recovery. Contact us today to take the first step!