7 days ago Governor Walker introduced legislation that is designed to change the way opioids are prescribed and monitored. Administrative Order 283 outlines the steps planned to address the growing heroin and opioid issue – declared an epidemic by Governor Walker last month. The state shared data that from 2009 to 2015, the number of heroin-related deaths in Alaska has quadrupled.
Here on the Peninsula:
Change 4 the Kenai has been working toward the prevention of injection drug abuse for over two years. In 2016, we published a Community Behavioral Health Needs Assessment that outlines goals and plans for our projects. Local Kenai Peninsula data clearly demonstrates the rapid growth of admissions for those seeking addiction treatment at Serenity House of Central Peninsula Hospital. While alcohol is and remains the most widely abused drug, the trends of growth for injection drug use is astounding.
Currently Change 4 the Kenai is working on an updated Community Assessment that addresses local Heroin and Non Medical Use of Prescription Opioids (NMUPO). We have been gathering data through surveys and interviews. As we work toward creating more specific plans for the communities of the peninsula, we welcome community input and look forward to streamlining efforts with the Safer Alaska program.
Watch for our media and prevention efforts and join us for an educational opportunity: COPE classes, free to the public!