In a small room of a little building on the Kenaitze Indian Tribe campus in Old Town Kenai, U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams heard a big message — comprehensive, integrated care is the way to treat those trapped in the opioid epidemic.
Dr. Adams was touring Alaska this week with a particular focus on learning how the opioid epidemic is affecting the state. He visited Kenai on Thursday specifically to tour the tribe’s Dena’ina Wellness Center and Henu’ Community Wellness Court.
“It would be incredibly presumptuous and, in my opinion, incredibly wrong of me to think that we can sit in Washington, D.C. and figure out what folks need in any part of the United States, and especially out in Alaska,” Adams said. “So it’s important to get out and find out what’s working well and what’s not working. And I’ve heard from many folks that the Wellness Center is an example of how to provide many services in an integrated way to individuals, and that’s why we came here.”
Public transportation needs outpace available services on the central Kenai Peninsula but one of the programs helping to fill the gap is hoping to obtain funding again next year.
The Central Peninsula Transportation Task Force met Monday and finalized priorities for Alaska Community Transit funding through the Alaska Department of Transportation. The Independent Living Center is proposing to continue its voucher program for seniors and people with disabilities in the central peninsula area, Homer and Seward. The program costs about $160,000 a year, with a mix of public funds, support from some local agencies and some of the costs covered by riders.