Community talks over drug problem

    Juneau, Alaska (KINY) Juneau got a chance to discuss the community drug problem with state experts.

    Andy Jones Director for the Office of Substance Misuse and Addiction Prevention said discussions at the town hall meeting included enforcement, treatment, recovery and prevention.  "There are resources in Juneau but obviously there may not be adequate resources.  The question is how do we bridge that gap?"

    Jones said drug related deaths have declined in the past year.  There were 129 reported in 2016.  There are also a number of local task forces in the state working on the individual problem in each community.  The state has held town hall meetings on drugs across the state.

    "We do need more treatment and detox.  We also need more enforcement.  A lot of the common themes about what is missing is sober living housing."

    Jones said the Haven House in Juneau, a sober living facility for women, has been doing a good job.  He said each community would like to have a similar program.  "It is easily done at the community level and the costs are affordable."

    Overdose deaths remain high.  Jones said prescription drugs, heroin and fentanyl are a problem in most communities.  "Fentanyl is very powerful and it usually leads to quite a few overdoses.  We are very cautious on the numbers."

    The state hopes to have a proposed plan in place in April.  They will hold a summit in June to get input and should have the final plan done this summer.






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