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Alaska joins nationwide effort to regulate alcohol consumption

The Alaska Public Health Association is joining a nationwide movement to fight for tighter...
The Alaska Public Health Association is joining a nationwide movement to fight for tighter regulations to prevent substance misuse.(GRAY)
Published: Jan. 26, 2021 at 6:36 PM AKST
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - Over 30% of Alaskans have reported using more alcohol since the pandemic started, according to the Department of Health and Social Services. Before that number gets any higher, the Alaska Public Health Association is joining a nationwide movement to fight for tighter regulations to prevent substance misuse or death during the pandemic.

That nationwide movement is led by the American Public Health Association, which is urging lawmakers to strengthen alcohol regulations.

Last year, many Alaska businesses suspended statewide alcohol regulations because of the pandemic. Since everyone needed to hunker down, the suspension of these regulations allowed for curbside pick-up and take-out delivery of alcohol from licensed restaurants, breweries, distilleries and retail stores.

“The pandemic has imposed challenges on all our lives,” says ALPHA President Travis Hedwig. “Alaskans who struggle with substance misuse are experiencing the effects of the pandemic on top of limited access to critical support networks. Relaxing alcohol laws has an adverse effect on alcohol misuse in our state.”

Those advocating for more alcohol restrictions in Alaska say legislation needs to protect the public by regulating online sales, enforcing ID checks, funding treatment facilities and maintaining the limits of selling locations.

“Substance misuse is a public health crisis,” says Seth Green with ALPHA. “Challenges with mental health and substance misuse are increasing during these times, and we must find ways to address this for the benefit of all Alaskans.”

If you or someone you love is struggling with alcohol abuse, there are resources to help.

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