September 27th, 2022 Newsletter
I firmly believe that the Alaska State Legislature can make a difference for Alaskans.
The legislature can save lives by creating and funding prevention, intervention, and treatment programs. The legislature can increase the quality of life for our youth by early intervention in education, and by providing a top-notch pre-K through University learning sysytem. The legislature is a representation of our society and despite our divisions elected officials can, must, and often sometimes do work together to solve big immediate problems.
Last week I attended the Walk for Recovery event with South Peninsula Hospital Community Health & Wellness Education staff and the All Things Recovery Coalition (formerly the ALL Things Addiction/South Kenai Peninsula Opiod Taskforce).
I learned from local leaders on the frontline of our state’s opiod crisis about addiction treatment, prevention, and the impact of Narcan, a safe and easy to administer (nasal spray) medication that can save individuals who have overdosed on opiods. I am a firm believer in the harm reduction strategy for managing our opiod crisis. Last year, Alaska experienced the largest percent increase in overdose deaths of any state in the United States and many of these deaths could have been prevented through more public awareness of Narcan. If elected, I will work to ensure that statewide our EMT’s, Troopers, VSPO’s, local police, harbor officers and other first responders carry Narcan kits in their vehicles.
Alaska received $58 million in settlement funds from a major nationwide lawsuit against pharmaceutical companies that have contributed to our opiod crisis. Here is an article on the settlement funds https://alaskapublic.org/2022/09/23/public-can-weigh-in-on-how-alaska-should-use-millions-of-opioid-settlement-money/
Public comment is open until September 30th on the use of these funds in Alaska. Here is the link to the Governor’s Advisory Council on Opiod Remediation reporthttps://content.govdelivery.com/attachments/AKDHSS/2022/09/20/file_attachments/2275138/GACOR%20Recommendations%20Report%20Draft%209.9.22_%20%28003%29.pdf
Here is the link to the public comment informationhttps://aws.state.ak.us/OnlinePublicNotices/Notices/View.aspx?id=208070
Reguarding the report recommendations, a local leader told me this:
“I like how the recommendations address the multi-prong strategy necessary to affect change; prevention, treatment and harm reduction. At a meeting about this several years ago, an elder described our situation as a problem with us trying to pull people out of white water in a river they are drowning in, while upstream a little we can give them tools to navigate the calmer waters of the river, and even further upstream we can prevent them from falling (or jumping) into the river in the first place. If we don’t prevent the new victims from getting drawn in, the work will never be done. And if the prevention includes wellness education as opposed to “just say no” type approaches, it will benefit every single community member, and with information and practices that protect from other possible physical and mental health struggles. Unfortunately, funding for prevention is often neglected because it isn’t targeted. Also, because it is proactive as opposed to reactive it is harder to quantify its effectiveness. I think an in house wellness counselor (with training in substance misuse) in each school would be both preventative (in educating all the students) and responsive (by connecting students or families already in the throes of addiction with local resources.)”
Public comment with emphasis on the need for substance misuse counselors in our schools can help provide momentum for critical prevention measures. Please review the recommendations and consider submitting a brief comment by 5pm on September 30th.
We can and must do better in Alaska to save lives and facilitate recovery.
Thank you for taking the time to read this,
Campaign office hours are weekday evenings 4-6pm. We do have mid day hours that tend to vary by the throughout the week. Anytime the sandwich board is out on the street feel free to come in.
Located at 601 E Heath St. Suite 4
Volunteer opportunities this week:
- We have more Post cards to write! stop in the office to grab a stack.
- Stay tuned for the next phone bank session!
If you would like to get in touch for signs please call Sarah at (907)299-2316 or stop by the office.