Updated on May 17, 2024
3 min read

Updated Drug and Alcohol Statistics for Alaska

Alaska has been grappling with a growing drug and alcohol addiction crisis, which has had devastating consequences for individuals, families, and communities across the state. This article presents a comprehensive overview of the latest statistics on substance use, overdose deaths, and treatment efforts in Alaska, highlighting the urgent need for effective solutions.

  • Drug overdose deaths in Alaska increased by a staggering 74% from 146 in 2020 to 253 in 2021.1
  • The rate of deaths involving fentanyl surged by 150% from 2020 to 2021.1
  • Alaskans drank an average of 1,404 alcoholic drinks per person in 2020, which is above the CDC defined 'heavy drinking' amount.2

Substance Use and Overdose Deaths

The drug overdose crisis in Alaska has worsened in recent years, with alarming increases in deaths related to various substances. Consider these statistics:

  • The death rate for overdoses involving methamphetamine increased by 148% from 2020 to 2021.1
  • 58% of overdose deaths since 2017 involved mixtures from more than one narcotic, sedative, or psychotropic category.1

The rise in drug-related deaths underscores the severity of the addiction crisis in Alaska.

Demographic Impact

The addiction crisis has had a disproportionate impact on certain demographic groups in Alaska. Here are some key findings:

  • The overdose rate for males was 42.9 per 100,000, compared to 26.9 per 100,000 for females in 2021.1
  • Alaska Native and American Indian people had an overdose rate of 77.7 per 100,000 people in 2021, the highest among all ethnic groups.1
  • Anchorage had the highest regional overdose death rate at 49.3 per 100,000 people in 2021, followed by the Gulf Coast region at 40.3 per 100,000.1

These disparities highlight the need for targeted interventions and support for the most affected populations.

Alaska SUD chart

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Alcohol Use and Related Deaths

Alcohol abuse is a significant problem in Alaska, contributing to numerous health and social issues. Consider these alarming statistics:

  • An average of 433 annual deaths in Alaska are attributable to excessive alcohol use.3
  • The 5-year average annual rate of excessive alcohol deaths per capita increased by as much as 45.0% from 2015 to 2019.3

The high rates of alcohol consumption and related deaths in Alaska underscore the urgent need for effective prevention and treatment strategies.

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Substance Use Disorder (SUD) and Treatment

Substance use disorders are prevalent in Alaska, affecting a significant portion of the population. Here are some relevant statistics:

  • 7.3% of Alaska adults met the criteria for an alcohol use disorder in 2015-2016, slightly higher than the national average.4
  • Data from the Youth Risk Behavior Survey show a significant proportion of Alaska adolescents (grades 9–12) engaging in alcohol consumption.4

Addressing substance use disorders through accessible and effective treatment is crucial for the well-being of individuals and communities in Alaska.

Efforts and Interventions

Alaska has implemented various initiatives to combat the drug and alcohol addiction crisis. Two notable examples include:

  • Alaska has implemented a comprehensive Statewide Opioid Action Plan to address the opioid crisis, including prevention, treatment, and recovery strategies.5
  • Operation Engage Anchorage focuses on targeting the opioid drug threat and includes community-level collaborative efforts for education and awareness.6

The statistics presented in this article paint a grim picture of the drug and alcohol addiction landscape in Alaska. From the sharp rise in overdose deaths to the high rates of alcohol consumption and related fatalities, it is evident that the state faces significant challenges in addressing substance abuse. However, through comprehensive action plans, targeted interventions, and community engagement, Alaska is taking steps to combat this crisis and support those struggling with addiction. By prioritizing prevention, expanding access to quality treatment, and promoting long-term recovery, the state can work towards a healthier, more resilient future for all its residents.

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Updated on May 17, 2024

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