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Alaska Drug Treatment Centers, Alcohol Rehab Programs and AA and NA Meetings

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Alaska's unique location and the fact that many of its inhabitants consider themselves Alaskan Natives - an ethnic group that is often included with American Indians for statistical purposes presents a challenge to the State when it comes to drug and alcohol treatment. This is evident in the fact that 66.8% of men were reported to abuse alcohol only-that is, they only drank consumed alcohol, they did not take other drugs, such as marijuana, cocaine or heroin. Of these, 55.6% were considered Alaskan natives. The age group with the highest incidence of alcohol only abuse was ages 36-40.

Females in Alaska, however, tended to abuse cocaine, and mainly by smoking it (generally in a solid form commonly referred to as "crack" cocaine). Of 1,896 females, 58.0% were reported as engaging in this form of substance abuse. Further, more females (53.5%) than males (46.5% out of 3,896) abused cocaine by injecting, "snorting" (taking it in through the nose), or other methods of administration than men. Of these statistics, Alaskan natives, both male and female, made up 34.8% of those who smoked cocaine and 23.5% of those who used cocaine through other methods of administration.

Even with the differences between genders, it is easy to see that cocaine abuse is very prevalent in Alaska. What makes this even more shocking is the fact that, mainly because of Alaska's geographical location, the price of cocaine is considerably higher than it is in the other contiguous 48 states. (It should be remembered that although considered as one of the 50 United States of America, no part of Alaska actually touches any of the 48 contiguous states; rather, Alaska shares common borders with Canada.) Further, the cocaine distribution trade in Alaska is primarily controlled by Mexican and Dominican suppliers, whose primary source for obtaining cocaine is through one or more of the 48 states.

The only other drug with more widespread use in Alaska is marijuana. The survey from which these statistics are taken reported 1,269 people who admitted to marijuana use. Most grow their own for personal use in small inside gardens; others use a type of marijuana known as "BC Bud" which is smuggled into Alaska from British Columbia. Marijuana use and possession, no matter what type is being used is illegal, however, especially since Alaska has signed a bill which once again "re-criminalizes" it.

The State meets the challenges of cocaine and marijuana use, as well as any other type of substance abuse admirably, however, by providing drug and alcohol treatment centers that address ethnic issues as well as other situations. As with many Native Americans in the 48 states, many Alaskan natives also retain and practice some of the cultural rituals that their ancestors did. For this reason, many drug and alcohol treatment centers in Alaska recognize this and make allowance for these practices when they are planning and implementing treatment programs.

There are a number of drug and alcohol treatment centers located in the State of Alaska itself, which can be utilized by those living in all parts of the State. Those who live close to the Canadian border, however, may be able to take advantage of facilities in both Alaska and Canada, as long as proper documentation that is required for entering a foreign country is presented. Alaskan residents can also, of course, choose to travel to those U. S. states that also border Canada on the same side of the continent as where Alaska is located and enter into drug and alcohol treatment programs there.

Location should never be used as an excuse for not seeking drug and alcohol treatment. If a person wants to become drug- or alcohol-free badly enough, he will take the necessary steps to enter a rehabilitation program, no matter where he lives. Further, statistics are always subject to change. Substance abuse does not have to continue to increase. Everyone, regardless of the State of residence, can play a part in striving for a reduction in substance abuse.


Alaska Drug Rebab Centers and Alaska Addiction Treatment Programs

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