Opioid abuse a growing problem in Alaska

    ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Abuse of opioids has been a growing problem in Alaska for the past decade.

    Jay Butler, Alaska's chief medical officer, says the problem has been more visible the past couple years, and some of that could be driven by the national dialogue taking place about the issue.

    A joint investigation by The Associated Press and the Center for Public Integrity found that nationally drugmakers that produce opioid painkillers and allied advocacy groups spent more than $880 million on campaign contributions and lobbying over the past decade as they worked to influence state and federal policies.

    Alaska is far behind scores of Lower 48 states, at least in terms of lobbying and campaign contributions from drugmakers and industry supporters. Alaska has averaged six state lobbyists paid by forum members annually for the past 10 years.

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