Dunleavy spotlights dangers of fentanyl

Speaking from a restoration facility in Wasilla, Gov. Mike Dunleavy on Tuesday issued a neighborhood alert warning Alaskans concerning the relationship between fentanyl and deadly drug overdoses and detailed his response to the disaster.

Fentanyl is an artificial opioid that the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration says is between 80 and 100 occasions stronger than morphine and is permitted for remedy of extreme ache. Fentanyl that’s illegally made, nevertheless, is what’s linked to “most” latest instances of fentanyl hurt, overdose and loss of life, in accordance with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Drug overdose deaths in Alaska surged by 71% between 2020 and 2021. According to Dunleavy’s workplace, preliminary information from the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services present that drug overdose deaths in Alaska elevated from 146 in 2020 to 253 in 2021. Almost 60% of overdose deaths final yr concerned fentanyl, a launch from the governor’s workplace stated.

Dunleavy on Tuesday attributed Alaska’s spike in drug use to what he stated was an “insufficiently protected southern border.” He stated he’ll proceed working with different governors to push President Joe Biden “to do more” to cease shipments of fentanyl to Mexico from China.

According to a January 2020 intelligence report by the DEA, Mexico and China are “the primary source countries” for fentanyl and fentanyl-related substances trafficked straight into the United States.

In response to the state’s fentanyl disaster, Dunleavy stated individuals who deal fentanyl will probably be prosecuted to the “fullest extent of the law,” which incorporates being charged with manslaughter if somebody who ingests the drug dies. He stated Tuesday that his workplace can have conversations with the Alaska Legislature to extend that cost to second-degree homicide.

Part of the response to the fentanyl disaster, Dunleavy stated, contains lowering stigma round drug habit and increasing efforts in colleges to assist college students and well being care professionals. He stated the state is working to broaden entry to remedy and restoration providers.

Dunleavy additionally unveiled a brand new bulletin that DHSS Commissioner Adam Crum has been directed to share with colleges and fogeys. That bulletin warns that, in Alaska, fentanyl is often seen in blue capsules that should appear to be pharmaceutical oxycodone. Those capsules are generally known as “blues,” “M-30s” or “dirty 30s” and are often stamped to appear to be capsules disbursed by pharmacists.

“Families need to be educated on the dangers of fentanyl, and that even one pill can be dangerous and even fatal,” the bulletin says.

The bulletin says colleges can assist households by offering easy accessibility to naloxone, a drug that reverses the results of an opioid overdose, and by figuring out easy methods to acknowledge an opioid overdose. It can’t be decided whether or not a capsule incorporates fentanyl simply by it.

Signs of an opioid overdose embody lack of consciousness, gradual or shallow respiration, pale or blue pores and skin, a limp physique and constricted pupils, in accordance with the CDC.

Dunleavy stated Tuesday that Alaska additionally acquired provides for 11,000 Narcan kits, often known as naloxone, and can step up all enforcement efforts. The National Institutes of Health describes naloxone as an “opioid antagonist,” that means it attaches to opioid receptors and reverses and blocks the results of different opioids.

Leaders at a Narcan workshop held in Soldotna final yr stated to consider opioids like tiny golf balls and somebody’s neuron receptors like golf tees. As lengthy because the opioid is energetic, it sits on the “tee” of somebody’s receptors. When the opioid dies, it falls off the receptor and new opioids stick on them. Naloxone knocks all of the opioids off their receptor tees.

The drug solely has a half-life of about half-hour, nevertheless. Once it begins dying, opioids rush to fill these tees again up. That’s why it’s so necessary for the individual responding to the overdose to name 911. Pharmacists in Alaska are in a position to dispense naloxone independently of prescribers.

More details about opioids in Alaska might be discovered on DHSS’ web site at

Reach reporter Ashlyn O’Hara at

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If you or somebody you’re keen on is fighting substance use, think about reaching out to one of many peninsula’s habit remedy and restoration facilities.

Emergency dispatch: 911

Freedom House sober dwelling, Soldotna: 907-260-3733

Serenity House Treatment Center, Soldotna: 907-714-4521

Cook Inlet Council on Alcohol and Drug Abuse, Kenai: 907-283-3658

Cook Inlet Council on Alcohol and Drug Abuse, Homer: 907-235-8001

Ninilchik Traditional Council Community Clinic, Ninilchik: 907-567-3970

Homer Needle Exchange, South Peninsula Hospital, Homer: 907-235-3436

SeaView Community Services, Seward: 907-224-5257

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