Alcohol and Substance

Alcohol abuse among Alaskan community is a big problem and it is among the leading caused of death in this region in fact as mentioned above, it fourth in the leading causes of deaths in that most of death cases that are reported are alcohol related.

“The death rate due to alcohol or other substance abuse for these teens is nearly twice that of other races and it is estimated that 75 % of all traumatic deaths and suicides among Indian youth involve alcohol” (Cameron, 1999) Alcohol consumption in Alaska is higher than in other parts of the United States for example in 1981 its consumption was 64 percent higher than the rest of the states and many suicide cases in Alaska and to add salt to the injury, they were alcohol related in fact, a survey that was conducted in the1980s shown that many of the deaths that were reported, were committed by Alaskan natives than by the whites for example, in 1983, the natives accounted for 0. 36 percent per thousands deaths of the natives while only 0. 08 accounted the deaths of the whites per thousand (Spiegler, 228).

According to Namyniuk et al, (2001), impacts of alcohol abuse in the Alaska native community are many and one of them is increase in crime level. According to the Annual Drug and Alcohol Report that was released by the Alaska State Troopers in 2007, unlike in other communities where illegal drugs are the main cause of crime the case is different in Alaska as alcohol is the main cause. Cases such as domestic violence are very rampant in Alaska and are attributed to alcohol abuse and this is something that has broken many families.

Apart from domestic violence many families have been broken because of lack of commitment as people spend most of their time drinking alcohol while they are supposed to be attending to their family needs. Many accidents in Amongst Alaska natives that could have otherwise been averted such as car accidents, homicides and suicides are attributed to alcohol abuse this is because most of car accident cases are caused by drunken drivers. It was estimated that that 75 percent of all suicides and traumatic deaths were as a result of alcohol abuse and according to the U. S. Department of Health and Human Services, suicide rates among the natives were 1. 5 times higher than the rest of the American population and to make the matter worse it was higher in some age groups.

This fact is added weight by another one survey that was done in 1999 by NHSDA and shown that the most affected group in the Alaskan native community were the youths between the age of twelve and seventeen. Again high drop out rate among the Indians and the Alaskan native community has been attributed to alcohol abuse. Parents are not there when their children need counseling and therefore they are generally neglected. When this happens, those children end up emulating what their parents do, that is they start experimenting on alcohol and end up just like their parents. People have reduced their morals and they no longer respect their elders who are leaders of the community and it is common to see Alaskan native youth using abusive language to the elders.

There are many alcohol prevention programs that have been initiated as the problem has grown out of hand and many of the affected youths have been put in the program. Some of these programs are like the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA), The Indian Health Service (IHS) among other community based alcohol control programs. Most of these programs target the youth and school children who are the most affected so many of these programs have been incorporated in the schools’ curriculum. Many people in this state want the government to fully control alcohol abuse. The community has taken the lead and is working hand in hand with the government to control alcohol sale, possession and consumption.

Indeed alcohol drinking is a problem to the Alaskan natives and their cultures and the problem seems to on the rise despite government measures to control it. Its abuse has led to the loss of hundreds of individual Native Alaskans, which in turn has led to the destruction of Native Alaskan families and Alaskan native culture. Many people die due to alcohol related causes for example many car accidents are caused by people who are drunk. Many families have been broken by it and the youth do not value things like education not forgetting they no longer respect their elders and use abusive languages to them.


Namyniuk, L. , Brems, C. , Kuka-Hindin, C. 2001. Ethnic Differences in Substance Use Patterns in a Sample of Pregnant Substance-Using Women in Treatment. Journal of Addictions and Offender Counseling. Accessed from http://www. accessmylibrary. com/coms2/summary_0286-10848380_ITM SAMHSA Press, 2007. New Study Shows American Indians and Alaska Natives Continue to Have Higher Rates of Alcohol Use and Illicit Drug Use Disorders Than Other Racial Groups. Retrieved from http://www. samhsa. gov/newsroom/advisories/0701231626. aspx Gale, Nancy. 1991. Fighting Alcohol and Substance Abuse among American Indian and Alaskan Native Youth. ERIC Digest. Accessed from http://www. ericdigests. org/pre-9221/indian. htm.

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