U.S. DRUG CZAR TO ATTEND
U.S. Sen. Dan Sullivan today announced he will convene a second wellness summit on Aug. 17 in Anchorage, the focus of which will be Alaska’s crime wave. The first wellness summit was in 2016.
Crime is a serious issue and often rated by Alaskans as their No. 1 concern.
Last year’s average of 272 vehicle thefts a month in Anchorage has inched higher in 2018, with 274 vehicles being reported stolen every month in Alaska’s largest city — nearly nine a day to date.
Anchorage is now No. 2 on the National Crime Insurance Bureau’s list of hot spots for car theft, only after Albuquerque, N.M. Last year, Anchorage was No. 6 on the list.
A host of federal appointees will attend the crime summit, including the “Druz Czar,” Jim Carroll, of U.S. Office of National Drug Control Policy.
The summit’s goal is to build public awareness, identify opportunities for coordination and cooperation, and highlight Alaska’s unique public safety challenges with federal officials.
“Two years ago, I had the honor of convening the Alaska Wellness Summit: Conquering the Opioid Crisis, an important gathering of federal, state and local community leaders dedicated to tackling the many challenges associated with the growing opioid and heroin epidemic,” Sullivan said.
Over 500 people attended that conference in the Mat-Su, and Sen. Sullivan heard stories from Alaskans that motivated him to prioritize getting additional resources to the state. Some of those resources are just being released from the federal government now, such as funding to help people in recovery find jobs again.
“It wasn’t just a talk-fest: A lot of action-oriented ideas involving federal legislation became reality,” Sullivan said. “Months ago I applauded the President’s decision to declare the opioid epidemic a public health emergency, which included important flexibility and authority for federal agencies to address this crisis.
“This crisis impacts everyone, either directly or someone they know and love,” he said.
The recent two-year federal budget dedicates $6 billion to addressing the opioid crisis. Sullivan is working on updating other federal legislation, such as the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA) of 2016.
Now, he wants to focus on crime, including working more on the problem of addiction, but also drug trafficking and other crimes.
“There are so many positives about living in Alaska, yet in many communities, our rates of crime, domestic violence and sexual assault are horrific,” Sullivan said. “Whether you are a victim of crime, working on the front lines, a member of law enforcement, or simply a concerned citizen looking for more information, please join us and share your experiences and ideas. We all have a role to play in combatting the crime wave that’s victimizing so many Alaskans. Let’s work together to create a safe state where we can all thrive.”
Confirmed speakers at the Wellness “crime” summit include:
- Jim Carroll – U.S. Office of National Drug Control Policy Director
- Admiral Karl L. Shultz – 26th Commandant of the United States Coast Guard
- David Rybicki – Deputy Assistant Attorney General, Organized Crime and Gang Section of the Criminal Division
- Jahna Lindemuth – Alaska Attorney General
- Bryan Schroder – U.S. Attorney for the District of Alaska
- Walt Monegan – Alaska Commissioner of Public Safety
- Justin Doll – Anchorage Police Chief
- Ed Mercer – Juneau Police Chief
- Vern Halter – Mat-Su Borough Mayor
- Dr. Brad Myrstol – Associate Professor and Director of the UAA Justice Center
- Dr. Jay Butler – Chief Medical Officer, Alaska Department of Health and Human Services
- Kyle Hopkins – Special Projects Editor, Anchorage Daily News
- Leon Morgan, Director of the Alaska Criminal Information and Analysis Center, Alaska State Troopers
The conference takes place Aug. 17, noon to 5:30 at the Alaska Airlines Center at the University of Alaska Anchorage, 3550 Providence Drive, Anchorage.