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There has been a recent increase in heroin addiction within the state of Alaska due to a number of socioeconomic factors. One of the leading causes of this is unemployment, which in turn often leads to poverty and depression. People may turn to illicit drugs such as heroin to self-medicate their depression and quickly descend into the horrors of heroin addiction Alaska.
It can be difficult to achieve recovery from a heroin addiction in rural areas such as Alaska due to a lack of resources caused by small population, lack of funding, and a limited number of skilled professionals in the area. If you are suffering from addiction in a rural area, you face a barrier to your recovery, but there are ways to overcome it.
Causes of Heroin Addiction in Rural Areas
Since the Great Recession, there have been increasing rates of heroin addiction in Alaska. Some of the causes for the increase in rural areas include:
- Increase in unemployment rates due to the recession and globalization. This unemployment and poverty can lead to depression, which in turns leads to self-medication.
- Employment in rural areas is sometimes dangerous and can lead to injuries in which prescription painkillers are prescribed. This can lead to opioid addiction, which sometimes transitions to heroin addiction once addicts are no longer able to obtain pain medication.
- There tend to be closer communities in rural areas in which someone is more likely to know someone prescribed legitimately prescribed pain medication. With increasing rates of opioid prescriptions, it makes it easier for those in rural communities to purchase these drugs and begin their addiction.
- Poverty and lack of education in rural areas lead to an increase in both mental and physical illnesses. These untreated mental and physical conditions can often cause individuals to self-medicate with illicit drugs, such as heroin.
- The isolation of rural areas can also lend itself to the development of mental illness, such as depression and anxiety. This can also lead to attempts at self-medication, which in turn can lead to heroin addiction Alaska.
Barriers to Recovery in Rural Areas
Rural areas such as Alaska suffer from a lack of mental health providers and treatment facilities. More than 80% of those living in rural areas do not have access to a detox facility, nor do they have inpatient or outpatient care or residential facilities. Rural emergency room personnel may also have limited experience in identifying those suffering from a drug overdose, and EMT/first responders without proper training may be unable to administer a naloxone shot to combat a heroin overdose.
Rural areas also have limited public transportation, which further limits the ability of those suffering from heroin addiction in Alaska to seek help due to the fact that many of these individuals have had their driver’s licenses suspended or revoked, and they may not own a vehicle.
Achieving Recovery from Heroin Addiction Alaska
Despite the barriers to recovery from heroin addiction in Alaska, there are ways to overcome them. Those living in rural areas should seek the assistance of family doctors, social workers, psychologists, and even pastors. It should be noted that there is an ongoing effort to train primary care physicians in rural areas to treat both addiction and the underlying behavioral health causes, which are often stigmatized in these areas.
In addition, rural communities can undertake a number of steps to improve awareness of heroin addiction Alaska including:
- Town halls or community meetings
- Guest speakers at schools
- Increased education for law enforcement
- Screenings by primary care physicians
- Training for medical personnel to administer naloxone
- Support for churches and clubs to provide support in recovery
- Working with human services to provide adequate resources such as food and shelter to those suffering from addiction and their families
If you or a loved one are suffering from heroin addiction in Alaska, please contact us today at 844-338-5046 and get the help you need. Our compassionate team of counselors are standing by to take your call 24/7. Do not hesitate to get help today.