Community members gather to discuss opioid epidemic

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FAIRBANKS, Alaska - Community members gathered last night to discuss Alaska's opioid epidemic.
They examined what's working, what's not working, and what the barriers to change are.
Last year, Gov. Bill Walker signed into law legislation aimed at further addressing opioid abuse in Alaska.
After that, response measures were put in place - like drug disposal, reducing the supply of opioids, and providing education.
But now lawmakers are looking for long-term solutions.
In order to help legislators build a plan, they've decided to ask for community input.
The 'Office of Substance Misuse and Addiction' wants to address root of the problem and make a change.
Andy Jones; Director of the Office of Substance Misuse and Addiction Prevention>>: "When we look at prevention, we talk about primary, secondary, and tertiary prevention, so things like Narcan, these are the tip of the spear stuff. But these are really just a tourniquet to the issue at hand right now. So what it means is that this is saving Alaskan's lives and doing amazing things. I think we deserve, not just one chance, but sometimes we as humans need 2, 3, 4, 5, it's keeping us alive as we build a system, but we need to really go back and say, 'Why are Alaskans self medicating? Why do we have this adverse childhood experience occurring?' And so those are what the Health Officials in partnership with many other agencies are starting to look at and hopefully be addressing here in the long term future."