Due in part to the state’s dark winters and isolated location, Alaska struggles with an array of drug, alcohol and mental health problems. Heavy drinking contributes to violent crime, domestic abuse, sexual assault and the state’s high suicide rates. Many of the accidental deaths in Alaska are also related to alcohol abuse.
While many residents in Alaska struggle with substance abuse and mental health conditions, there are a number of quality rehab facilities and treatment centers that specialize in helping individuals overcome these issues. There are treatment facilities in major cities like Anchorage and Fairbanks, as well as rehab centers in more remote parts of the state.
Quick Alaska statistics:
- Alaska state population: 750,000
- Number of people in Alaska who abuse alcohol and/or drugs: 75,000
- Number of people in Alaska with a serious mental illness: 30,000
- After heavy alcohol use, the most commonly abused drugs in Alaska are heroin, methamphetamine, prescription drugs, cocaine and marijuana
Alcoholism in Alaska
Alaska has a long-standing reputation for heavy drinking, which continues to this day. Alaska ranks high among states in the U.S. for alcohol consumption per capita, and the state’s alcohol mortality rate is three times the national average.
In Alaska, there are a number of rehab centers that specialize in treating alcoholism and substance abuse.
Set Free Alaska is a nonprofit, comprehensive facility located in Palmer. Set Free has both an outpatient program and an intensive outpatient program, in which participants have the option to live at home during treatment due to work, family or school commitments. The facility provides a holistic approach to treatment and follows a Christian-focused model for addiction rehabilitation and recovery. Set Free has multi-generational programs for Alaska residents struggling with addiction, trauma or mental issues.
For those looking for a payment-assisted rehab center, Discovery Cove Recovery and Wellness Center is a facility in Eagle River. Discovery Cove provides treatment for alcoholism and co-occurring substance abuse and mental health issues. The treatment center’s facility features mountain views and also offers Equine Therapy, which involves interactions and activities with horses. Discovery Cove is open to men, women, teenagers and children and accepts both Medicaid and Medicare.
Drug Abuse in Alaska
The most commonly abused drugs in Alaska are heroin, methamphetamine, prescription drugs, cocaine and marijuana. According to data from 2013, Alaska is one of the top 10 states for illicit drug use. Over 13% of Alaskans report using illicit drugs.
Alaska has multiple facilities for the treatment of drug abuse and addiction. Central Peninsula Behavioral Health - Serenity House is a comprehensive, private rehab center in Soldotna. The facility specializes in the treatment of opioid addiction, which includes the abuse of illegal opioids like heroin, as well as prescription drugs like oxycodone and hydrocodone. Serenity House offers both inpatient and outpatient treatment and also provides aftercare support for those making the transition out of rehab. Open to adolescents, the treatment center has trained, certified counselors who work with teenagers and their families who have been affected by addiction.
Sitka Counseling is a payment-assisted facility in Sitka. The rehab center accepts Medicaid, Medicare, private health insurance and also offers a sliding-scale treatment payment option. Sitka Counseling has both an inpatient and outpatient program and provides several different therapy methods for treatment, including individual therapy, group therapy, couples counseling and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), which has been proven effective for all types of recovering addicts.
Mental Health in Alaska
Suicide is a serious concern in the state of Alaska. In Anchorage, there are four suicides for every one homicide. The majority of suicides occur within the Alaska Native population. According to data from 2013, an estimated 120,000 residents in Alaska experience depression.
Residents in Alaska have multiple resources and options for the treatment of mental health issues like major depression, anxiety disorders, bipolar disorder and schizophrenia.
Located in Dillingham, Bristol Bay Area Health Corporation is a facility that offers both an inpatient and outpatient program. The treatment center is open to men, women, teenagers and children and accepts Medicaid, Medicare and private health insurance. Bristol Bay also has sliding-scale treatment payment options for patients. Additionally, the facility offers a designated program for active duty military seeking help for mental health problems and issues.
Are There Any Free Drug Rehab Centers In Alaska?
In Alaska, there are drug rehab centers that are either state-financed or have low-cost treatment payment options. Multiple rehab facilities in Alaska accept Medicaid, a government-run public healthcare program for residents who meet certain requirements. Individuals who earn 133% below the federal poverty level qualify for Medicaid. Residents may also be eligible for Medicaid if they are a parent, pregnant or have some type of disability.
In addition to rehab programs that accept Medicaid, there are other drug and alcohol treatment facilities for residents with financial need. The Salvation Army - East 6th Avenue in Anchorage provides substance abuse treatment and recovery services for low-income residents. The Salvation Army offers a faith-based program and is founded on the 12-Step recovery model. Those who participate in the program engage in spiritual counseling, work therapy and may have the option to enroll in job training. In Anchorage, The Salvation Army also offers substance abuse treatment through its Youth and Family Services program.
How Long Is Inpatient Drug Rehab In Alaska?
The length of a drug rehab program in Alaska varies depending on the type of program and the facility. For those seeking treatment for substance abuse, it’s important to remember that everyone’s journey and rehabilitation process is different. There is no one-size-fits-all model for addiction treatment and recovery.
Typically, an inpatient (residential) treatment program runs 30, 60 or 90 days. For some people enrolled in an inpatient program, the first stage of the process is to undergo Medically Assisted Detox, which involves removing drugs and alcohol from the body under the supervision of medical professionals.
Some treatment facilities require a stay of up to six months, or possibly longer. These programs usually take place at a sober living community or halfway house, which provide a supportive, substance-free environment for addicts in recovery.
Following an inpatient treatment program or a stay at a sober living home, many recovering addicts participate in some type of outpatient program. This can include counseling, medication monitoring, therapy, 12-step meetings or family programs, in which family members and loved ones participate in an addict’s recovery process. Many rehab centers provide those who have completed a drug or alcohol rehabilitation program with some form of aftercare support, which involves making a sustainable plan for recovery.
Alaska: Looking Ahead
Despite Alaska’s reputation for being a state where many residents engage in heavy drinking and illicit drug use, many state officials are working to improve the health and wellbeing of the Alaskan population. The binge drinking rate among Alaska’s youth has declined significantly in the past few years. The state has also seen a decrease in the number of Alaska high schoolers who abuse illicit drugs. Mental health advocates in Alaska are attempting to change the state’s prevalent drinking culture and shift resident’s attitudes about alcohol consumption.
As many Alaska residents deal with drug abuse, alcoholism and co-occurring substance abuse and mental health issues, there are a variety of treatment centers for those seeking to overcome these struggles. In Alaska, help is available to those who need it, regardless of financial situation.