State senator puts out comprehensive plan to curb alcohol abuse in Alaska
Alcohol is the deadliest substance in Alaska, according to the state department of health and social services, but state law regulating its consumption hasn’t changed much since 1980. A bill in the Senate would overhaul current statutes, Title 4.
Stakeholders representing the alcohol industry, public health, local governments, law enforcement, public safety, education, and community advocacy sectors have spent thousands of hours drafting new measures to help prevent abuse. Those provisions have been folded into Senate Bill 76, a measure sponsored by Sen. Peter Micciche (R-Soldotna).
Last Monday, Gov. Bill Walker rolled out a bill to prevent heroin and prescription drug abuse in the state. Advocates of SB 76 say similar action is needed for alcohol.
Unlike most drugs, alcohol is legal and socially accepted – making it hard to tell if someone has a problem.
“There’s a lot of shame, there’s a lot of stigma, people have a common perception of what they think an alcoholic is and should look like in their minds, and it’s usually not what I looked like,” said Tiffany Hall, a recovering alcoholic and executive director of the non-profit Recover Alaska.
The group is working to build support for SB 76, specifically provisions that place stricter limits on how alcohol comes into communities, limit online sales to wine, and require registration of kegs so adult hosts of underage drinking parties can be held accountable.
To raise awareness on the issue, Coppa, a local café in Juneau and popular pit-stop for lawmakers, will use Recover Alaska’s orange mugs to serve coffee this month.
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