ANCHORAGE (KTUU) It’s a statistic that for some is hard to hear. Between 2009 and 2015 nearly 800 people died in Alaska because of drug overdoses.
According to the state, prescription drugs are responsible for more than 65 percent of those deaths and about 41 percent of the illicit drug deaths were caused by heroin as the primary contributing factor.
It’s why state leaders say an upcoming opioid summit is so important.
On Thursday, some of the country’s top health officials will gather in Palmer to talk about the unique challenges Alaska faces when it comes to dealing with opioid and heroin abuse.
The summit is hosted by U.S. Senator Dan Sullivan. He says it was inspired by a group of women in Alaska who visited the Nation’s Capital last October to attend a rally.
They told Sullivan their own powerful stories facing addiction.
In the above video we hear two of those stories.
Kara Nelson is currently recovering from an addiction. Currently she is the director of Haven House in Juneau where she helps others that seek help from addiction. She has been sober since June 1st, 2011.
Kim Whitaker is a mother whose daughter is currently addicted to heroin. She is the President of Real About Addiction.
The Alaska Wellness Summit; Conquering Opioid Addiction will be held at the Mat-Su Collage in Palmer from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
In attendance will be the U.S. Surgeon General and Deputy Secretary for the U.S. Department of Health and Social Services.