Data suggests opioid-related overdose deaths in Alaska down

  • Source: Fairbanks News-Miner - Metered Site
  • Published: 02/06/2019 04:58 PM

Preliminary numbers released by the state indicate the number of opioid-related overdose deaths in Alaska fell between 2017 and 2018. Andy Jones, director of the state Office of Substance Misuse and Addiction Prevention, told a Senate committee Thursday that this suggests steps being taken to address opioid abuse are working. "Something's working," Jones said, adding later: "It is exciting news to see this trend." But Jones said there is more work to do. The preliminary data showed there were 100 opioid-related overdose deaths in Alaska in 2017 and 58 last year. In 2017, then-Gov. Bill Walker declared opioid abuse a public health disaster, and the Legislature approved issuance of a standing medical order for a naloxone distribution program through June 2021. Naloxone can help prevent overdose. The state has passed a law addressing opioid prescriptions; sued opioid manufacturers, including the company that makes the prescription opioid painkiller OxyContin; and taken steps on prevention, treatment and enforcement.


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