Alaska: Drug Rehabs

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Drug Addiction in AlaskaAlaska, the most remote and 2nd largest state in the nation, has a much different quality when it comes to drug abuse problems. Despite being far removed from much of the drug trafficking that floods the lower 48 states with cocaine, methamphetamine, and marijuana, Alaska still has a large substance abuse problem that is exacerbated by a shortage of professional rehab facilities. In fact, there are just a handful of rehab centers in the major population centers in Alaska, meaning that drug rehab help is hundreds of miles away for many Alaskans.

An Enabling Environment for Drug Abuse

Instead of sharing similar drug abuse problems with the rest of America, much of the drug problems in Alaska are more characteristic of Russia, where year-round cold weather and high unemployment has created an epic alcohol and heroin problem. In both places, a great deal of drug abuse is fueled by the fact that people are stuck indoors in small, isolated towns for many months out of the year. Out of a population of about 440,000 it is estimated that over 15,000 Alaskans suffer from opiate addiction, be it heroin or prescription opiates such as hydrocodone and oxycodone.

Since roughly half of the population of Alaska lives in and around Anchorage, a lot of the drug trafficking is done there, even as much of the importation takes place via small and remote airports and traffic lanes that are not frequently searched for contraband. However, there is still availability for many popular narcotics throughout the more remote parts of Alaska.

Alaska's Unique Addiction Treatment Needs

Despite the fact that many towns and cities in Alaska have agreed to vote on banning either the possession or the sale of alcohol within their boundaries, alcoholism is still a major problem in Alaska. In addition, a large portion of the Native American population suffers from mental health issues, domestic abuse, and suicide incidents; Native Alaskan men are also incarcerated at a rate 4 times greater than the average white male. Like many Native American populations in America, poverty and the resultant lack of mental and physical health is diminishing large parts of Alaskan society.

Cities in Alaska that have sustained problems with drug abuse are Anchorage, Chugiak, Fairbanks, Fort Wainright, Homer, Jber, Juneau, Kenai, Ketchikan, Kodiak, North Pole, Palmer, Sitka, Soldotna, and Wasilla.

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