TCC Explains How Alaskan Villages Are Dealing with the Opioid Epidemic

FAIRBANKS, Alaska - The opioid and drug problem has spread throughout the state, and remote Alaskan villages are no exception.
The Tanana Chiefs Conference Director of Public Safety, Jody Potts, spoke out at the Opioid Summit yesterday, on the traditional way villages are handling this epidemic.
Potts says rural communities are seeing meth, heroin and prescription pain pills brought in via bush plane, postal service, and snow machine.
For many communities, that's causing harm to families.
Some places have experienced more violent crime, child neglect, and an increase in accidents and injuries because of the use and selling of drugs.
She says that in bigger cities you don't always see the impact of drugs if it's not part of your family's life.
But in a village, it's hard to *not be affected by someone using.
Potts says unlike cities, rural communities don't have a law enforcement presence or rehabilitation centers to deal with drug dealers or criminals, so tribal leaders are taking matters into their own hands.
Jody Potts; Sgt. VPSO & TCC Director of Public Safety>>: "We have our tribes that are exercising their tribal sovern authority to address these matters. They are confronting the bootleggers, the drug dealers in their communities, you see articles in the paper and headlines of different tribes that are asking people to leave their community because of the harm they bring. I see communities that have used this method and they have reported back that they have confiscated a lot of alcohol or drugs and disposed of them and people are clean and sober in the communities. It definitely has a positive impact where tribes are exercising this. It's definitely working and making a huge positive difference."