Anchorage is a vibrant city. A place that people call home. We live here for the beautiful scenery, accessible outdoors, community connection and frontier spirit that defines Alaska. The Anchorage Health Department (AHD)’s vision is for Anchorage to become the safest and healthiest city in the United States. However, substance misuse remains one of the top concerns for our community, pointed to in both health needs assessments and community conversations. Substance misuse and related addiction is having a negative emotional and financial impact on our city.
In the fall of 2018, AHD set out to better understand the data and community understanding of the substance misuse problem. The purpose of this assessment is to provide in one location a collection of the quantitative and qualitative data, literature and potential policy recommendations available to our community. The data is the most current available. Where access to local level data was available, it was included. This goal of this report is to encourage dialogue, establish strategies,
and create pathways to successful regulatory changes. Ultimately, AHD seeks to encourage the community to better understand how substance misuse, specifically the eight findings below, are impacting us.
SUMMARY OF FINDINGS
1. Alcohol is the substance of highest use and misuse in Anchorage.
2. Preliminary 2018 mortality data indicates decreases in all drug overdose mortality citywide.
3. Methamphetamine on the rise.
4. Addiction rates of Alaskan youth are the highest in the nation.
5. Anchorage high school students primarily misuse alcohol, vapes (either flavoring, nicotine, or
marijuana), marijuana, tobacco, and prescription medicine.
6. Stigma surrounding substance use and addiction is high in the community.
7. The lack of behavioral and psychiatric health services exacerbates the substance misuse crisis.
8. There is a lack of substance misuse treatment options in Anchorage.
Summary Report here:AHD Substance Misuse Community Assessment Summary.pdf
Full Assessment here: AHD Substance Misuse Community Assessment_Online.pdf
Substance Misuse Resource Guide here: Substance Misuse Resource Guide (October 2021).pdf