ALASKA-SIZED PROBLEM WITH OPIOID ADDICTION
U.S. Senator Dan Sullivan was a champion for women when he was Alaska’s Attorney General, a solid supporter of the Choose Respect campaign against domestic violence.
He was a champion for resource development as Alaska’s commissioner of the Department of Natural Resources.
Now, as a U.S. senator, he’s joined the battle against opioid addiction. And what a battle it is. Alaska paces national trends in that heroin overdose deaths have continued to increase steadily every year since 2010 and are now ten-fold from 2010.
As Sullivan tells it, last fall a group of Alaskans gathered in his office and told him their personal stories of addiction. As they spoke of the pain and suffering that opioids had caused in their lives and in their families, “there was not a dry eye in the room.”
Sullivan decided to take what action he could to help them and the thousands of other Alaskans who are enslaved by addiction. Next week, he will convene his first summit since taking office, and the focus is on Wellness — helping Alaskans conquer opioid and heroin addiction.
SPEAKERS INCLUDE SURGEON GENERAL
The conference is open to all — caretakers, medical professionals, family members, friends, neighbors, or those in recovery.
Sullivan is bringing in U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Deputy Secretary Mary Wakefield as the keynote speaker.
The U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy is also attending, as part of his tour of the nation to meet with doctors and talk about the role that opioid prescriptions are playing in the epidemic of addiction.
Dr. Jennifer Lee, Veterans Health Administration Deputy Undersecretary for Health Policy and Services, and Dr. Karen Drexler, VHA Acting National Mental Health Program Director for Addictive Disorders will bring the focus to veterans and their families.
“I am committed to focusing our time together at the summit to produce tangible solutions that the attending federal officials and I can take back to DC,” Sullivan said.