Alaska State Troopers are making drug seizure data more accessible.

Troopers on Thursday began posting online drug seizure data that will be updated monthly rather than just from annual reports.

Capt. Michael Duxbury says regular postings alerting the public about trafficked narcotics – heroin, cocaine, and methamphetamine – is essential.

Troopers will post updated numbers around the twentieth of each month.

“It’s the conduit for having a conversation about all the multiples of drugs being used, and especially when it comes to methamphetamine and heroin,” he said. “I think awareness is going to build in folks that they feel comfortable in saying ‘I just didn’t realize how much of a problem it is,’ and this will have an impact.”

Troopers are calling it a drug seizure dashboard. They are posting statistics from the Troopers’ Statewide Drug Enforcement Unit and separate data that involves the agency’s K-9 units that assist agencies throughout the state.

The first posted featured data from March, April and May.

In March, the statewide drug enforcement unit seized 11 grams of heroin, but that figure spiked to more than 2,300 in April.

An AST spokesman said time spent seizing drugs differs from month to month so volumes can change drastically.

Annual seizure data from 2017 will be released as early as next month. Preliminary numbers show the statewide enforcement unit seizing slightly more than 15 pounds of heroin – triple the amount confiscated in 2016.

The growth is a driving the troopers’ efforts to broaden public awareness, Duxbury said.

“It’s spilling out on to our streets,” he said. “It’s managed and controlled by cartels on the other side of the border that are influencing us by bringing the stuff here to make more money than they do in a lot of other places.”

Last month, Alaska became eligible for federal funding to help combat drug trafficking. It’s part of a federal program that designated Alaska as a high-intensity drug trafficking area.

“It’s going to allow us to get funding for a couple of different things,” said Lt. Steve Adams, the Troopers’ Deputy Commander. “It's going to allow us to get funding to throw the proper resources we need to investigate cases. It’s going to allow us to travel around the state and reach other parts of the state we normally couldn’t afford to do.”

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