Tim Stifter, pharmacist for Juneau Drug, displays a generic form of Suboxone on Tuesday, May 23, 2017. The drug is used to stabilize brain chemistry in patients suffering from opioid dependency. (Michael Penn/Juneau Empire)

Tim Stifter, pharmacist for Juneau Drug, displays a generic form of Suboxone on Tuesday, May 23, 2017. The drug is used to stabilize brain chemistry in patients suffering from opioid dependency. (Michael Penn/Juneau Empire)

Juneau doctors add new approach to opiate addiction treatment

Juneau and Alaska as a whole have not been able to escape the nationwide opiate epidemic, and opiates appear to only be increasing their hold on Alaskans.

The age-adjusted rate of opioid deaths in Alaska is currently four times what it was in 2005, prompting Gov. Bill Walker to declare a public health disaster in February of this year. Seventy-four percent (95 of 128) of drug overdose deaths in Alaska in 2016 were due to opioid overdoses, according to preliminary statistics in the most recent State of Alaska Epidemiology Bulletin.

Juneau in particular has been hit hard. In 2015, there were 112 emergency room visits in Alaska due to heroin overdoses, and 10 of them were in Juneau, according to the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services. In the same year, 5 percent of the state’s prescription opioid emergency room visits (72 of 1,456) were in Juneau.

The country as a whole is facing an opioid crisis, and medical professionals are still seeking answers to the complex issue. There’s not one root cause for the epidemic, so there’s not one cure-all treatment that can work for every person working through recovery either.

Read more.

Tim Stifter, pharmacist for Juneau Drug, displays a generic form of Suboxone on May 23. The drug is used to stabilize brain chemistry in patients suffering from opioid dependency. (Michael Penn/Juneau Empire)

Tim Stifter, pharmacist for Juneau Drug, displays a generic form of Suboxone on May 23. The drug is used to stabilize brain chemistry in patients suffering from opioid dependency. (Michael Penn/Juneau Empire)

More in News

Poppies are affixed to wreaths during a Memorial Day ceremony at Leif Hanson Memorial Park in Kenai on Monday. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
Remembering the sacrifices of the fallen

Speakers ask community to be inspired through sacrifice of service members

A fallen tree reaches onto Kalifornsky Beach Road in Soldotna, Alaska, as cars drive by on Friday, Sept. 1, 2023. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
Grants, borough to support HEA effort to mitigate dangerous trees

HEA will have permission to enter borough land and the borough’s right of way

Assembly President Brent Johnson asks questions of representatives of the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District during a joint work session of the School Board and Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly in Soldotna, Alaska, on Tuesday, April 2, 2024. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
Borough to enter contract for asbestos flooring abatement in 3 central peninsula schools

The work will be done at Kenai Central High, Kenai Alternative High and Sterling Elementary schools

Alaska State Troopers logo.
1 dead, 3 missing after boat capsizes near Seward

Alaska State Troopers were notified by the U.S. Coast Guard of an overturned vessel around 1:30 p.m. on Wednesday

Kenai Central High School stands under clear skies in Kenai, Alaska, on Thursday, May 23, 2024. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
Borough approves contract for KCHS parking lot rehabilitation

Soldotna-based Foster Construction will be awarded the bid of $648,997 to complete the project

Central Peninsula Hospital is seen in Soldotna on Wednesday, Oct. 13, 2021. (Camille Botello/Peninsula Clarion)
Central Peninsula Hospital to host Cancer Survivor’s Day event

The event will take place Sunday, June 2 from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.

Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion
Rep. Ben Carpenter, R-Nikiski, speaks to the joint Soldotna and Kenai chambers of commerce at the Soldotna Regional Sports Complex on Wednesday.
Carpenter gives wrap up on session as he nears end of House term

Carpenter is seeking election to state Senate District D

(from left to right) Jachin Sanchez, Carter Lemons, Rowan Mahoney, Adelyn McCorison and Taylor Rickard graduated from Ninilchik School on Monday, May 13, 2024 in Ninilchik, Alaska. Photo provided by Mattea Peters-Williamson
Ninilchik graduates 5 in 2024 commencement

The school held the ceremony Monday, May 13

Most Read