Health Lifestyle Local

Struggling With Addictions? There Is A lot Of Help in The Interior

Written by Pamela Samash
In the last couple of years our government here in Alaska has dramatically loosened up the punishment for criminals. The biggest concern is theft and all too often drug addiction is the culprit for these crimes.
So it leaves me to wonder, was jail ever the best idea to begin with? For sure discipline after committing crimes against our neighbors is appropriate, but is it effective? After meeting and talking with both criminals and victims, if the crime is drug related, unless the jail has an incredible rehab program and follow up care, the person addicted has a very high chance of repeating the same destructive pattern over and over again. So during the sessions I listened, pondered and testified my opinions during the hearings about this issue and I testified that intervention had a much better success rate then just jail time for those with addiction problems. But who’s going to intervene and how are they going to do it?
I decided to try and put myself into the shoes of somebody with an addiction. Where would I go if I was homeless, uninsured, pregnant or had children or any other circumstance I could create. So I made a bunch of phone calls and asked a lot of questions so I could write this article outlining all that’s available or at least as much as I could find that’s available in our immediate area to those who are ready to quit drugs and/or alcohol. A large portion of this list of information is made possible by The Fairbanks Opioid Work Group. My hope is that this will give the reader a good idea of what’s out there to help and also I would like to add that after doing this research, I have found that our community is absolutely amazing and wonderful in so many ways! There are just a lot of very caring people who shine the love of Christ in the hard work they do to help and heal people.
First, I’d like to mention the drugs available that can help those with opioid addictions:
What is opioids?
 “Opioids” is a term for drugs that bind to the opioid receptors in the body. They can include everything from heroin and fentanyl to prescription meds like oxycodone, hydrocodone, codeine and morphine. Without the use of counter active drugs, an opioid addict has an almost 80% chance of returning to opioids after trying to quit.
Drugs that can help:
Suboxone- This contains the active ingredients buprenorphine and naloxone. Buprenorphine is an opioid medication and Naloxone blocks the effect of an opioid medication including pain relief or feelings of well-being that can lead to opioid abuse.
Vivitrol- A once a month injection which requires to also be used drug recovery programs like counseling. This creates a barrier that blocks opioid molecules from attaching to opioid receptors in the brain.
Naltrexone- This blocks the negative effects opioids have on the brain and prevents the feeling of getting high.
Methadone- Can take as a powder, liquid or tablet. It blocks the high a person gets from opioids. It replaces the opioid in the person’s system with milder effects. This can be used in pregnancy under a doctor’s care.
Programs and Organizations that are here to help:
-Gateway Recovery 456-1053
  1. This phone number will be answered 24/7. Limited opioid beds are available. Services: Inpatient support to withdraw from heroin or other opiates. Medications are used to alleviate symptoms of withdrawal. Includes some counseling and education. Follow-up may include Vivitrol injection (blocks opiates for 30 days) and/or referral to other treatment programs. New services will include connection to Suboxone/buprenorphine or Vivitrol. These folks are a great first step for an opioid or alcohol crisis drug intervention when someone is actually ready to quit.  Meth users will be redirected.

    -Railbelt (rural from Nenana to Cantwell) 907-832-5557

    They accept all insurance and sliding scale payments. They provide counseling.

    • -  FMH Emergency Dept. – For help with withdrawal symptoms.
      • -  North Country Medical, Paul Finch, PA – C (907) 374-3869 – Outpatient opioid detox with or
        1. without the Bridge device, Vivitrol. Experienced in medical care for people with addiction.

          – Restore Inc. – (907) 374 -1097 – Find support, referrals, case management, resource identification. 542 4th Ave. Suite 203. Monday-Friday, evenings and weekends. Call or drop-in.

          • -  Teresa Lyons, PNP – (907) 750-8114 – Vivitrol
            • -  Interior AIDS Association – Interior Medication Assisted Treatment- 710 3rd Ave. (907) 452- 4222 ext. 100. After hours resource line: (907) 750-5566. Methadone and Buprenorphine (Suboxone) treatment with opioid addiction history of 1 year or longer. Options include maintenance and short- or long-term taper (30 – 180 days). Counseling and education are required. Medicaid, private insurance and generous sliding fee scale. No waiting list.
              • -  TVC Addiction Medicine: Dr. Eric Schneider and Dr. Peter Dillon. Reception: 907-458-2682. Addiction Medicine Case Manager: 907-458-2634 M-F 8am – 5 pm. Buprenorphine (Suboxone) and other addiction treatments. Outpatient and inpatient consult services.

              - Ideal Option Addiction Services – 1221 Noble St. Suite 101. Call (877) 522-1275 or drop in. Suboxone as well as treatment for other addictions. No waiting list. They accept private and Medicaid insurance. This is outpatient, medical approach which helps those who are addicted to opioids, alcohol and meth and those who are pregnant. They set up a plan that’s best for each patient.

           -Fairbanks Native Association – (907) 452-6251 (all programs)

          1. – Women & Children’s Center for Inner Healing: residential treatment for pregnant and parenting women. – Ralph Perdue Center – residential treatment for adults.
            1. (People can be enrolled in Suboxone or methadone treatment and also residential treatment.)

              – Tanana Chiefs Conference – (907) 452-8251 x 3010; Old Minto Family Recovery Camp is an Athabascan alternative to substance abuse treatment; a place to begin healing in a traditional setting. Old Minto offers Level 3.5 Clinically Managed High-Intensity Residential Services. The program is designed for Alaska Native families, but they welcome all individuals. The camp does not have running water or electricity. In addition to daily groups and individual counseling sessions, residents gather firewood, haul water, fish, hunt and do daily chores. Clients stay for a minimum of 35 days. They use living in balance as their core curriculum and offer psychotherapy for co-occurring clients.

              – Graf Rheeneerhaanjii – (907) 455-4725 x 232. Graf provides coed residential drug & alcohol rehabilitation services to American Indian/Alaska Native adolescents from the ages of 12 – 17 (18 year-olds are considered on a case-by-case basis). There is also one bed reserved for a non-native youth.

              -Fairbanks Native Association/Ralph Perdue Center- insurance, private pay, and Medicaid. Assessment and counseling services (907) 452-6251 or 459-3818. Offers an outpatient program with opioid specific curriculum for the treatment of consumers. Works closely with community partners for medication-assisted treatment including holistic approaches as well as Suboxone and Vivitrol medications.

              Inpatient Care as well:

              3-5 days for alcohol, 7-10 for opioids detox unit.

              Adolescent residential 90 day program ages 14-18. (No waiting list)

              45 Day residential recovery (3-4 month waiting list)

              Women and Children and pregnant program 4-6 month. (Waiting list 3-4 months)

              3100 S Cushman St

              -Fresh Start- private pay and some insurance-assessment and counseling services (907) 388-3221


              3504 Industrial Ave

              5 step program: 1) Assesment to determine level of care

              2)Education Classes

              3) Primary outpatient counseling/ support groups (very private)

              4) Continuing Care

              5) Referrals

              -Pacific Rim Counseling- private pay- assessment and counseling services (907) 452-5252

              -Restore, Inc.- Find support, referrals, case management, resource identification. Monday-Friday, evenings and weekends. Call (907) 374 -1097 or drop-in 542 4th Ave. Suite 203.

              -Turning Point Counseling Services- Most insurance, private pay, limited scholarships- Integrated Mental Health/Substance Use Disorder Assessment, Level 2.5 Intensive Outpatient Co-occurring Substance Use disorder treatment, Level 1 Standard Outpatient Substance Use Disorder treatment, Mental Health Counseling Services, Stress Reduction Classes, Mindfulness Training Classes, Trauma Sensitive Yoga Classes, support groups – (907) 374-7776,

              -N.A. meetings – 1-866-258-6329;

              – Bible Baptist Church 907-452-1407

              32 Chase Adak Ave

              They offer a Reformers Unanimous Support Group

              Friday 7-9PM

              – First Presbyterian Church 452-2406 at 547 7th Ave corner of Cushman

              Monday thru Friday AA Group at noon to 1:15pm

              Monday, Wed, Friday 12:30-2:00 ish Alanon meeting

              Tuesday Afternoon 3:00-4:00 Alanon meeting

              Wednesday 7-8:30 NA meeting

              – Narcotics Anonymous meeting times and locations


About the author

Pamela Samash

Leave a Comment