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HCR 21: Urging Governor Bill Walker to join with the Alaska State Legislature to respond to the public and behavioral health epidemic of adverse childhood experiences by establishing a statewide policy and providing programs to address this epidemic.

00                    HOUSE CONCURRENT RESOLUTION NO. 21                                                                   
01 Urging Governor Bill Walker to join with the Alaska State Legislature to respond to the                                 
02 public and behavioral health epidemic of adverse childhood experiences by establishing                                  
03 a statewide policy and providing programs to address this epidemic.                                                     
04 BE IT RESOLVED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF ALASKA:                                                               
05       WHEREAS more than two-thirds of adults surveyed in the state report experiencing                                
06 adverse childhood experiences at a rate higher than other states that have conducted surveys;                           
07 and                                                                                                                     
08       WHEREAS adverse childhood experiences are traumatic experiences occurring                                       
09 during childhood that may have a profound effect on a child's developing brain and body and                             
10 may result in poor health during the person's adulthood, including physical, emotional, and                             
11 sexual abuse, physical and emotional neglect, and household dysfunction, such as domestic                               
12 violence, separation or divorce involving household members, and substance abuse, untreated                             
13 mental illness, or incarceration of a household member; and                                                             
14       WHEREAS research over the last two decades in the evolving fields of neuroscience,                              
15 molecular biology, public health, genomics, and epigenetics reveals that experiences in the                             
01 first few years of life build changes into the biology of the human body that, in turn, influence                       
02 the person's physical and mental health over the person's lifetime; and                                                 
03       WHEREAS strong, frequent, or prolonged stress in childhood caused by adverse                                    
04 childhood experiences can become toxic stress, affecting the development of a child's                                   
05 fundamental brain architecture and stress response systems; and                                                         
06       WHEREAS Alaska Natives experience adverse childhood experiences at a rate of up                                 
07 to twice the rate of non-Natives, according to the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System                           
08 in 2013, with nearly 30 percent of Alaska Natives having experienced four or more adverse                               
09 childhood experiences; and                                                                                              
10       WHEREAS adverse childhood experience studies have also found a strong                                           
11 correlation between the number of adverse childhood experiences and a person's risk for                                 
12 disease and negative health behaviors, including suicide attempts, cancer, ischemic heart                               
13 disease, diabetes, smoking, substance abuse, depression, obesity, unplanned pregnancies,                                
14 workplace absenteeism, lower educational achievement, and lower wages; and                                              
15       WHEREAS, when compared with other states surveyed, an adult in the state with                                   
16 four or more adverse childhood experiences is 2.6 times more likely to use Medicaid, 2.7                                
17 times more likely to be unable to work, 2.4 times more likely to be a current smoker, 2.6                               
18 times more likely to have not graduated from high school or received a general education                                
19 development diploma, 5.2 times more likely to have ever been diagnosed with a depressive                                
20 disorder, 1.8 times more likely to be a heavy drinker, 2.9 times more likely use a government                           
21 food program, and 4.2 times more likely to have experienced hunger in the previous year; and                            
22       WHEREAS, in research conducted outside the state, when compared with all states                                 
23 surveyed, a person with four or more adverse childhood experiences is 2.4 times more likely                             
24 to have a stroke, 2.2 times more likely to have ischemic heart disease, 2 times more likely to                          
25 have chronic pulmonary obstructive disease, 1.9 times more likely to have a type of cancer,                             
26 1.6 times more likely to have diabetes, 12.2 times more likely to attempt suicide, 10.3 times                           
27 more likely to use injection drugs, and 7.4 times more likely to be an alcoholic; and                                   
28       WHEREAS the Alaska Mental Health Board and the Advisory Board on Alcoholism                                     
29 and Drug Abuse have estimated the direct and indirect cost to the state of adverse childhood                            
30 experiences in six categories (adult Medicaid, current smoking, diabetes, binge drinking,                               
31 arthritis, and obesity) to be approximately $774,000,000 annually; and                                                  
01       WHEREAS the life expectancy of a person with six or more adverse childhood                                      
02 experiences is 20 years shorter than the life expectancy of a person with no adverse childhood                          
03 experiences; and                                                                                                        
04       WHEREAS early childhood offers a unique window of opportunity to prevent and                                    
05 heal the effects of adverse childhood experiences and toxic stress on a child's brain and body;                         
06 and                                                                                                                     
07       WHEREAS the emerging science and research on toxic stress and adverse childhood                                 
08 experiences have uncovered evidence of a growing public health crisis for the state with                                
09 implications for the state's educational, juvenile justice, criminal justice, public health, public                     
10 safety, labor, and commerce systems; and                                                                                
11       WHEREAS it is more effective and less costly to positively influence the architecture                           
12 of a young child's developing brain than to attempt to correct poor learning, health, and                               
13 behaviors later in life;                                                                                                
14       BE IT RESOLVED that the state's policy decisions acknowledge and take into                                      
15 account the principles of early childhood brain development and, whenever possible, consider                            
16 the concepts of toxic stress, early adversity, and buffering relationships; and be it                                   
17       FURTHER RESOLVED that early intervention and investment in early childhood                                      
18 years are important strategies to achieve a lasting foundation for a more prosperous and                                
19 sustainable state through investing in human capital; and be it                                                         
20       FURTHER RESOLVED that the Governor join with the Alaska State Legislature                                       
21 and address the presence of adverse childhood experiences as factors for many societal issues                           
22 and to fund research for statewide solutions.