Gov. Walker issues a disaster declaration on the opioid epidemic

Published: Feb. 15, 2017 at 11:49 AM AKST
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Governor Bill Walker announces a disaster declaration on Alaska’s opioid epidemic, on Wednesday morning.

The official declaration was signed and issued by Walker, on Tuesday.

According to the press release, Walker’s declaration enables the wide distribution of naloxone, a drug used to treat emergency situation narcotic overdoses.

In the past two years, first responders and emergency services administered naloxone over 1,315 times for both confirmed and suspected narcotic overdoses in Anchorage, the Mat-Su, the Kenai Peninsula, the Fairbanks North Star and Juneau, according to Walker's letter to Alaska's President of the Senate and Speaker of the House.

Read more about naloxone


A statewide Overdoes Response Program was also created under Alaska’s Chief Medical Officer, according to the press release.

“This disaster declaration is an important first step in addressing our public health crisis, which has devastated too many Alaskan families,” Walker said.

Current estimated costs is $4,058,316, according to Walker's letter. The governor says federal grants will fund the response costs, while DHSS funds will also be allocated to the disaster. He says that the disaster will not reduce the Disaster Relief Fund Balance.

On Thursday, at 12:30 p.m., Walker will hold a news conference in his Cabinet Room to announce his plan and "next steps."

Previously, Walker outlined his initiative, regarding the opioid epidemic, during the