Multi-pronged approach used to address Alaska’s opioid epidemic
While news about the opioid epidemic tends to focus on overdoses, deaths, enforcement efforts and life-saving tools such as Narcan, other prevention work happening to confront this public health crisis in Alaska is also underway.
One of the six overarching goals identified in the Statewide Opioid Action Plan, is that Alaskans unite to reduce stigma and change social norms around substance misuse and addiction. A strategy for achieving this goal is to strengthen and support Alaskans and their communities by addressing trauma. An accredited training offered by the Office of Substance Misuse and Addiction Prevention (OSMAP) – Core Concepts: Addressing Compassion in Challenging Environments – helps first responders including law enforcement, emergency medical technicians and social workers better understand the connections between trauma and substance misuse. In partnership with Southcentral Foundation, this free three-day training is offered in Anchorage, Kenai, Juneau, Wasilla and Fairbanks over the next three months. Details and registration are available at alaska.nuka.com. Contact Elana Habib, opioid misuse and addiction prevention specialist for OSMAP, at email@example.com or 907-334-5970 with questions.
The plan also highlights the importance of timely access to screening, referral and treatment services. The American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM) Treatment of Opioid Use Disorder course is available through a partnership with the Alaska Primary Care Association for health care professionals working with patients with opioid use disorder (OUD). This course expands access to OUD treatment options to health care team members such as physicians, nurse practitioners and physician assistants. Contact education@ASAM.org or 301-656-3920 with questions.
For more information about the Statewide Opioid Action Plan, finding help, how to take action or to download materials for use in your area, visit opioids.alaska.gov.