On the Opioid Front

DHSS works with many state and federal agencies, programs and community partners to combat Alaska’s ongoing opioid epidemic. There are many ongoing activities, but here are some recent highlights:

  • The State of Alaska received designation as a High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area last May; this brings $5 million in federal funding to support collaborative enforcement across cities, municipalities and state and federal agencies.
  • DHSS’s Office of Substance Misuse and Addiction Prevention (OSMAP; rhymes with “Oh, snap!”) through Project HOPE (Harm-reduction Overdose Prevention Education) has distributed approximately 4,000 Narcan kits through dozens of events and connections to partner organizations since July 2018. ┬áSince Project HOPE launched in February 2017, over 200 instances of lives saved have been reported to OSMAP.
  • Another Drug Enforcement Administration Drug Take-Back Day took place on Oct. 27. Community partners help DEA with logistics for this event all across Alaska, and together, they collected 4,000 pounds of prescription drugs that were incinerated Washington State.
  • New training for health care providers
    • Drug Prescribers can now take a free online course developed by DHSS to educate themselves on addiction, opioid use and pain management. The goal is to minimize opioid misuse and the overprescribing of opioids. This course is offered in response to new Alaska legislation that requires prescribers to complete two hours of continuing education on this topic. For more information, visit our continuing education page on the DHSS opioids website.  

    • Project ECHO-Opioid, which began Oct. 15, is another educational opportunity for health care providers who serve individuals with opioid use disorder. The program includes a 30-minute lecture on an opioid-related topic plus an opportunity to share information with other providers. It’s hosted by DHSS’s Office of Substance Misuse and Addiction Prevention and the Division of Behavioral Health with the University of Alaska Anchorage, Southcentral Foundation, Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium, and Providence Alaska. It occurs every other Monday from 12:15-1:15pm. Email echo@alaskachd.org for more information.


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