Volunteers of America Alaska is working to help prevent the non-medical use of prescription opioids among 12-25 year olds and heroin use among 18-25 year olds and associated consequences, through community education, safe medication disposal, and distribution of overdose prevention kits.

The State of Alaska's Department of Health and Social Services, Division of Behavioral Health(DBH) issued the Strategic Prevention Framework Partnerships for Success Grant to coalitions across the state of Alaska to prevent the non-medical use of prescription opioids(NMUPO) among 12-25 year olds and heroin use among 18-25 year olds. 

Within Anchorage, VOA and Healthy Voices Healthy Choices coalition (HVHC) was awarded funding. VOA has contracted with Alaska Injury Prevention Center (AIPC) to conduct the required assessment.

Purpose of Assessment

The DBH tasked grantees with collecting data pertaining to NMUPO among 12-25 year olds and heroin use among 18-25 years old. Through the assessment, grantees were to collect data pertaining to the nature of NMUPO and heroin use and related consequences, including health disparities related to NMUPO and heroin use. Grantees were also asked to assess intervening and community factors. Specifically, grantees were required to assess community factors related to social and retail availability, and perceived risk for harm of NMUPO and heroin use, and an additional intervening variable the coalition identified in this process is regarding harm reduction. PFS grantees were additionally asked to assess the community's capacity and readiness to address NMUPO and heroin use.

Mortality Rate Data

Data collected from the Alaska Bureau of Vital Statistics mortality database, shows that from 2009-2015, there were 774 drug overdose deaths. 400 of these deaths were from opioid pain relievers and 128 were heroin related. 

Of the 311, the number of accidental poisoning deaths doubled from 66 in 2005 to 133 in 2012 (Strayer, Craig, Asay, Haakenson, & Provost, 2014).

Poisoning deaths include, but are not limited to, unintentional overdoses from drugs. The number of heroin overdose deaths in Alaska increased by a factor of four from 2008-2013 (Hull-Jilly, Frasene, Gebru, & Boegli, 2015).

Download the Anchorage Prescription Opioid Misuse Prevention Quarterly Report

For more information please contact Sherrie Hinshaw, President & CEO
Phone: (907) 279-9650