Alaska’s Surprising Secret:
Drug and Alcohol Addiction and Its Repercussions

Deaths from drug overdoses are endemic across the nation. Whether you live in an urban metropolis or isolated farm country, you’ve likely seen the devastating effects of drug and alcohol addiction. Some places are making headlines for their state’s statistics for addiction. Though this isn’t the kind of recognition any state would want, more attention often means more awareness and more help. Despite a sharp increase in overdose fatalities, Alaska’s low population has meant its crisis hasn’t made frontline news.

If we consider the percentage of drug addicts in the state rather than the numbers of actual people addicted, it has one of the biggest drug problems in the country. Today, dependencies range from crack to opiates, and the state has historically struggled with alcoholism. In fact, in dry counties, a bottle of liquor rivals drugs in price.

Many people become hooked in villages and look to Anchorage for a way out, but what they find there are only more roadblocks. With an average homeless population of 5,000, it’s no place to be without shelter – as anyone who lives there can attest. In fact, about 15 homeless people freeze to death each year, and a large percentage of them are addicts.

Roadblocks to Recovery Throughout Alaska

Statistics of Addiction - AlaskaAlaska also must contend with marijuana use among its youth – another huge issue. Alaska is considered a “marijuana exporting state” and produces higher-quality marijuana than is normally found in the Lower 48. Recent reports indicate that at least 21% of Alaskan high school students used marijuana during the 30 days they were surveyed. Though marijuana isn’t as high a risk drug as others, that kids this young are using already is troubling and may be worth further study.

Polydrug use, or the use of two or more psychoactive drugs, is another problem plaguing the state since at least 2015. Heroin and methamphetamines are often combined – a sometimes lethal combination. Unfortunately, it’s another export for the state: Heroin and methamphetamines are often shipped from smaller communities to larger cities like Juneau, either in parcels or on the person of a drug dealer.

Shortfalls in Alaska for Addiction Recovery

For a state with such a devastating problem, addicts have little recourse. Smaller villages are no haven; addiction is as prevalent there as it is in Alaska’s bigger cities. The Alaska Bureau of Investigation’s Statewide Drug Enforcement Unit has found that drug and alcohol abuse are Alaska’s greatest contributors to violent crimes, including assault. Property crimes and accidental death are also inextricably linked to substance abuse in Alaska.

Those looking for help meet numerous roadblocks. There are very few treatment centers, and the ones that are there are overburdened and have long waiting lists. Communities there already struggle to find proper resources, and drug programs are few and far between. Although Alaska did recently get a $4.2 million grant for a “Project Hope” program – a program that means the state will get about 5,000 lifesaving kits each year – it does little for those who are looking for help before they overdose.

Though it should help the community save lives, it’s a little like tossing a life preserver to someone who has already drowned. These kits do little to stop the cycle of addiction that creates the need for such kits. Investing in treatment facilities, aid to those with mental health issues, and long-term education programs would go a long way toward preventing dependency.

Alaska’s Addiction Sufferers Should Seek Treatment in Florida

Unfortunately, Alaska’s plight has become so far-reaching that the system is overwhelmed with need. Florida treatment facilities are better equipped in part because we’ve seen what Alaska is facing already. Known as The Recovery State, programs here have been designed with years of hard-won experience. Florida has battled these issues from the beginning of the epidemic, like those at The Treatment Center at Palm Beaches. This is important because experience matters when it comes to recovery programs.

People suffering from addiction in Alaska also have a secondary battle to fight: low light levels that significantly impact mental health issues. When people get clean in Florida, they have a better chance at recovery in part because the sun offers nutrient-rich vitamin D and because the warm weather means less susceptibility to pain. Less pain during recovery can mean a better chance at staying clean and returning to a more fulfilled life.

Chances of staying clean are much higher when addicts begin the recovery process away from the place they became addicted. Though it can be difficult to leave home and the life you have there, we believe it matters to your recovery to such a degree that, without transforming your circumstances entirely, the path to a healthy life is nearly impossible. Treatment facilities in Florida offer hope for people the world over, and many residents from Alaska and throughout the U.S. have found a way to become healthy again at treatment programs like what we offer at The Treatment Center.

Find Hope at the Treatment Center at Palm Beaches

Located two miles from the beach, The Treatment Center at Palm Beaches offers a chance at a new life. We know that addiction isn’t solely about a substance – it’s about painful circumstances, unwitting decisions and a lack of substantive care. Addiction recovery is only successful when programs treat the whole person. We provide that type of care, and we believe in a holistic approach to recovery that incorporates healing of the mind, body, and spirit.

Our team of skilled professionals includes health care professionals, guidance counselors, and other guides. Together, we share the common goal of a healthier body and a transformed mind for you. Talk with our team – we are compassionate and enthusiastic about leading people to recovery.

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