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JUNEAU—On Wednesday, Governor Bill Walker has declared a public health crisis in order to combat the state’s opioid epidemic. The disaster declaration establishes a statewide Overdose Response Program under Alaska’s Chief Medical Officer and enables wide distribution of the life-saving drug, naloxone.
“This disaster declaration is an important first step in addressing our public health crisis, which has devastated too many Alaskan families,” Governor Walker said. “When earthquakes, fires or floods claim lives and property on a large scale, a declaration of disaster is issued to prioritize the state’s response. This is no different. We must stop this opioid epidemic. My order ensures that our resources are properly allocated to tackle this challenge. However, this is only the first step. It provides a temporary solution; we must work on a long-term fix.”
In a 12:30 p.m. news conference tomorrow Thursday in his Cabinet Room, Governor Walker will announce the next steps.
Governor Walker first outlined the steps of his initiative to tackle the opioid epidemic earlier this year in his third State of the State address.