Are you an Alaskan looking for drug addiction help for yourself or a loved one? You’re not alone, and we can help in your search!
It’s no secret that America is facing an opioid epidemic that is taking a huge toll—costing people their families, their health, and their lives. And despite its distance from the lower 48, Alaska is no exception. While heroin is a concern, many more Alaskans find themselves with opioid use disorder (also called opioid addiction) after being prescribed pain pills.
In 2018, 60% of drug overdose deaths in Alaska involved opioids. A statewide study found that out of the top ten causes of death for Alaskans, only one (Alzheimer’s disease) was not associated with substance use as a potential contributing factor. And Alaska’s rate of babies born with Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome (NAS)/Neonatal Opioid Withdrawal Syndrome (NOWS) is more than one and a half times the national average. So it’s more important than ever to seek help if you want to stop using opioids.
The question is, where can you find drug addiction help in Alaska? We have some answers!
Getting Naloxone in Alaska to prevent overdose
Naloxone is a life-saving antidote in opioid overdose emergencies. When given in time, this medication can rapidly reverse a potentially fatal overdose of heroin or pain pills, providing crucial time to seek medical treatment. You may have seen Naloxone referred to by its brand name, Narcan. Alaska’s Project Hope offers free Narcan kits that contain two doses of Narcan, instructions on how to use it, sanitary gloves, and a carrying case. This means that everyone in Alaska who has concerns about overdose (for themselves or someone else) can get naloxone to keep on hand. The kits are available at more than 25 locations around the state.
Methadone clinics in Alaska
Methadone is the oldest of the drugs approved to treat opioid addiction, and it’s the one that most people have heard of. But it can be hard to get access to! It is classed as a controlled substance in the U.S., and you can only get methadone at approved clinics (called Opioid Treatment Programs) where you go in every day to receive your dose. There are four opioid treatment programs in Alaska that provide methadone, including Narcotic Drug Treatment Center, Inc. and WCHS, Inc. in Anchorage, Interior AIDS Association in Fairbanks, and Community Medical Services in Wasilla. SAMHSA regulates methadone providers and keeps a directory of all opioid treatment programs in Alaska.
Finding Suboxone Doctors in Alaska
Since methadone must be taken at the clinic daily, it can be an inconvenient option for people with busy lives. And that’s if they live near one of the four clinics in Alaska. For many Alaskans, the limited availability is a barrier. After all, the state is HUGE, and the population is spread thin. But don’t despair! There are other options for medically-assisted treatment for opioid addiction that might be a better option for you.
Suboxone (buprenorphine/naloxone) is an effective treatment for opioid use disorder, with less risk of misuse than methadone. It can help you through withdrawal and reduce cravings, which can be a literal lifesaver when you’re trying to stop taking opioids. While it is still heavily regulated by the federal government, Suboxone can be prescribed to a local pharmacy. Most Suboxone providers begin with weekly prescriptions while you stabilize on the medication, and then move to biweekly then monthly scripts.
The trouble is that not all doctors are able to prescribe Suboxone. In order to prescribe it, a physician or nurse practitioner must have a special waiver from the government. And since rural areas of Alaska can have vast distances between doctors, hospitals, and clinics, it can be difficult to find a provider who can prescribe Suboxone for you. That’s why Workit Health has clinicians able to prescribe Suboxone in Alaska, who see people virtually over the internet. You don’t have to hunt for a clinic when the clinic is on your phone or computer! For Alaskans who don’t live near a pharmacy and are in a more rural area, Workit Health is able to partner with a mail-order pharmacy to send your Suboxone to you.
Help for other substance use disorders in Alaska
Medically-assisted treatment isn’t only for opioids. There are medications that help to treat other addictions, too. For example, there is medication to help people quit smoking and medication to help people quit drinking.
Workit Health offers at-home alcohol detox, and ongoing naltrexone and acamprosate treatment to Alaskans looking for help with alcohol—whether they want to drink less or stop altogether. This kind of medication can reduce the euphoric effects of alcohol, reduce cravings for alcohol, and reduce heavy drinking days. It can make it much easier to reach your alcohol recovery goals.
Getting substance use counseling in Alaska
When people hear about medically-assisted treatment, sometimes they think it’s a one-stop solution. But in fact, you have a much higher chance of recovering if you also receive behavioral support, like individual or group therapy, or recovery coaching. Psychotherapy Today provides a directory of professionals and treatment centers that you can search by state, town, or ZIP to find those available in Alaska.
Workit Health also offers evidence-based online counseling and coaching. Like our online telemedicine, our online therapy is also available on our app on your phone or computer. Workit online therapists support all recovery goals, whether you want to stop or just reduce your use. We are committed to empowering you to overcome whatever challenges you’re facing. All of our counselors are licensed and trained in harm reduction, cognitive behavioral therapy, and other evidence-based techniques proven to help people recover. Workit Health’s online coaching is available to help people with a wide range of recovery goals—from alcohol to gambling to disordered eating—not only opioids.
You don’t have to struggle alone. Alaska may be huge, but thanks to innovations in telemedicine, Workit Health can provide drug addiction help and substance use treatment all over the state.