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Alcoholism and alcohol and drug abuse are all serious problems with very real consequences in the state of Alaska. The problem is so pronounced, that the percentage of illicit drug users in Alaska is consistently 30% above the national average each year. Nine of the top ten leading causes of death in Alaska are associated with substance abuse. Alcohol in particular is a serious concern in the state, among the general population but particularly among Alaska Natives. For the past several years, about 1 in 13 deaths among Alaska Natives in the state was caused by alcohol. About one-quarter of all injuries which require hospitalization in Alaska are either suspected or proven to be caused by alcohol. Unintentional injury is the third leading cause of death in the state. One-third of recreational boating fatalities in the state are also associated with alcohol use. In addition, about 37% of all fatal motor vehicle crashes in Alaska are alcohol-related. So as one can see, the problem is dire and the need for alcohol treatment in this region of the country has never been greater.

In terms of other drugs, cocaine, heroin, marijuana, methamphetamine, and prescription drugs are the primary substances of abuse which remain a cause for concern in the state of Alaska. Marijuana in particular is the overwhelming illicit drug of choice in the state, among both adult and youth. For example, over 21% of high school students in Alaska report having used marijuana within the last 30 days. Alaskan-grown marijuana has a particularly high THC content, so the drug is grown in bulk throughout the state and is widely available for both local use and export to other states where it is in high demand.

Prescription drug diversion is also a serious problem in Alaska, due to the fact that many users will do just about anything including becoming involved in pharmacy theft and even violence to keep up with their habit. In addition, prescription opiate abusers often progress to heroin use and this is a broad problem in the state. Methamphetamine use is a serious problem in Alaska not just for the users themselves, but due to the dangers involved with the manufacturing of the drug. For instance, children are often found living in the area of meth lab sites in Alaska. While the DEA had taken measures to clean up such sites in previous years, they still operate in the state due to current lack of funding so they are still currently being discovered in family neighborhoods. Drug abuse in Alaska takes its toll both socially and economically in this regard, with the costs relating to child protective services attributed to substance abuse totaling over $70 million in 2010.

There are many substance abuse treatment options in Alaska, some are publicly funded and some are private. Many of the publicly funded drug rehab programs are either outpatient or short-term programs. The private programs are such that treatment clients will need to self-pay or use insurance to cover the costs of treatment, but the private programs in Alaska are often the programs which will result in significantly more superior outcomes because of length and intensity of treatment offered.