Craft distilleries in Alaska are reeling after a decision that could change the part of their businesses most accessible to the public: tasting rooms. Distilleries have been operating tasting rooms since 2014 legislation allowing that practice.
Naloxone — a medication that rapidly reverses the effects of an opioid overdose — has long been used by emergency medics, but now it’s being deployed to police departments and non-profits at the front line of the state’s opioid crisis. Even with millions of new federal dollars being spent, the demand in outpacing the supply.
The state’s main syringe exchange can’t keep up with demand for clean needles among injection drug users. The Alaska AIDS Assistance Association, or Four A’s, collects used syringes in its Anchorage office and gives out new supplies, primarily to people using heroin and other opioids.
The state of Alaska is looking into whether it should sue the manufacturers of opioid painkillers for their contributions to the opioid epidemic and has hired a law firm that is representing two other states in related legal action.
Earlier this year, Alaska Gov. Bill Walker issued a disaster declaration to combat opioid abuse in the state. Since then, more time and resources have been dedicated to the issue. This summer, some of those efforts are aimed at getting the attention of the fishing community.