Local News

Sitka’s meth task force wins state support

Together For a Meth-Free Sitka, an initiative chosen at this year’s Sitka Health Summit, met for only the second time Tuesday night (11-12-13), and has already won state support.

Kate Burkhart, the executive director of the Alaska Advisory Board on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse, attended the meeting.

So I’m here tonight, just to kind of be a resource. And as you continue your process, if there are ways that the board or department can support your process, and help you achieve whatever goals you set. That’s what I’m here for.

The task force is still in its organizational stage. Four subgroups have been created: law enforcement, prevention, education, and media. Prior to Tuesday’s meeting, groups met separately to outline concrete steps the community could take to address methamphetamine addiction.

Ray Majeski was the spokesperson for the law enforcement group.

“We have four fewer people today on the police department than we had 28 years ago and the problems in Sitka have not diminished in 28 years. If anything they’ve been magnified somewhat,” said Majeski.

Donna Callistini spoke on behalf of the prevention group, whose top goal is to develop a detox facility in Sitka. Her concerns were shared by task force member Eileen Gallagher, who has a masters degree in trauma and addiction.

Gallagher said, “that’s one of the things about methamphetamine. It demands, not requires, it demands that any treatment has to be very structured and it has to be long. One of the things that Sitka doesn’t have is an intensive outpatient program.”

The task force briefly considered changing its name, but no further action was taken on the issue. To learn more about the meetings and activities of what — for the time being — remains “Together for a Meth-Free Sitka,” visit facebook.com/methfreesitka.

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