Recently in the news, we’ve heard about a growing number of fatal heroin overdoses in Anchorage.

But, Rural Alaska has also not gone unscathed.

This week, we’re airing a show we first brought to you in February, when we took you to the Southwest Alaska community of Quinhagak – which would seem to be the last place on earth you’d find heroin.

The Yup’ik village of roughly 700 people still subsists on wild foods – caribou and moose from the Kilbuck Mountains and salmon from the Arolik and Kanektok Rivers. But, last August, there were four heroin overdoses in one day. One young woman, Jamie Roberts, did not survive.

In this episode of Frontiers, the community of Quinhagak speaks out and shares what it has learned in hopes of saving lives.

Some of the highlights:

    • Quinhagak Overdoses: A look back at a tragic day in Quinhagak. What the investigation revealed about the mixture of heroin and fentanyl, that killed Jamie Roberts. We also hear from a man who overdosed on heroin the same day as Roberts. He nearly died and now wants to make the most of his second chance.
    • Quinhagak Fights Back: Tribal and city council leaders have advice for other rural communities on how to deal with drug dealers and users.
    • A Mother Remembers: As head of Bean’s Café, Lisa Sauder is well known in Anchorage for her efforts to feed the hungry. What people may not know is that Sauder lost her son last year to his longtime battle with opioids and heroin.
    • Beacon of Hope: KTVA’s Sierra Starks and photojournalist Emily Landeen bring us the story of Jennifer Waller, a recovering drug user who is building a home to help other women find freedom from addiction.

 

We hope to revisit the heroin and opioid epidemic in Alaska later this year – and welcome your suggestions. Please email me: rmcbride@ktva.com

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