Legislature(2015 - 2016)CAPITOL 106

02/17/2015 03:00 PM HEALTH & SOCIAL SERVICES

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Audio Topic
03:06:36 PM Start
03:07:03 PM Presentation: Cancer Action Network
03:42:31 PM Presentation: Alaska Youth Policy Summit
03:58:04 PM Adjourn
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
+ Presentations: TELECONFERENCED
- American Cancer Society
- Youth Policy Summit
-- Testimony <Invitation Only> --
                    ALASKA STATE LEGISLATURE                                                                                  
      HOUSE HEALTH AND SOCIAL SERVICES STANDING COMMITTEE                                                                     
                       February 17, 2015                                                                                        
                           3:06 p.m.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Representative Paul Seaton, Chair                                                                                               
Representative Neal Foster                                                                                                      
Representative Louise Stutes                                                                                                    
Representative David Talerico                                                                                                   
Representative Adam Wool                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Representative Liz Vazquez, Vice Chair                                                                                          
Representative Geran Tarr                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
PRESENTATION: CANCER ACTION NETWORK                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
     - HEARD                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
PRESENTATION: YOUTH POLICY SUMMIT                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
     - HEARD                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
PREVIOUS COMMITTEE ACTION                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
No previous action to record                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
WITNESS REGISTER                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
MOLLY DANIELS, Deputy President                                                                                                 
American Cancer Society (ACS) Cancer Action Network                                                                             
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT:  Presented a PowerPoint titled "Eliminating                                                               
Cancer in Alaska - A Roadmap."                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
EMILY NENON, Alaska Government Relations Director                                                                               
American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network                                                                                   
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT:  Presented a PowerPoint titled "Eliminating                                                               
Cancer in Alaska - A Roadmap."                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
RUSTY BEST, Organizer                                                                                                           
Alaska Youth Policy Summit                                                                                                      
Alaska Youth and Family Network                                                                                                 
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION  STATEMENT:   Testified  about the  Alaska Youth  Policy                                                             
Summit.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
HEATHER KELLY                                                                                                                   
Alaska Youth Policy Summit                                                                                                      
Fairbanks, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION  STATEMENT:   Testified  about the  Alaska Youth  Policy                                                             
Summit.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
BENJAMIN DAHL-ROUZEN                                                                                                            
Alaska Youth Policy Summit                                                                                                      
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION  STATEMENT:   Testified  about the  Alaska Youth  Policy                                                             
Summit.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
LEE BREINIG                                                                                                                     
Alaska Youth Policy Summit                                                                                                      
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION  STATEMENT:   Testified  about the  Alaska Youth  Policy                                                             
Summit.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
SAMUEL JOHNSON                                                                                                                  
Alaska Youth Policy Summit                                                                                                      
Cordova, Alaska                                                                                                                 
POSITION  STATEMENT:   Testified  about the  Alaska Youth  Policy                                                             
Summit.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
ROBIN AHGUPUK                                                                                                                   
Alaska Youth Policy Summit                                                                                                      
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION  STATEMENT:   Testified  about the  Alaska Youth  Policy                                                             
Summit.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
ACTION NARRATIVE                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
3:06:36 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR PAUL  SEATON called  the House  Health and  Social Services                                                             
Standing   Committee    meeting   to    order   at    3:06   p.m.                                                               
Representatives Seaton,  Foster, Wool, and Talerico  were present                                                               
at  the call  to order.    Representative Stutes  arrived as  the                                                               
meeting was in progress.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
^PRESENTATION: Cancer Action Network                                                                                          
              PRESENTATION: Cancer Action Network                                                                           
                                                                                                                              
3:07:03 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR SEATON announced that the  first order of business would be                                                               
a presentation by the Cancer Action Network.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
3:08:50 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MOLLY DANIELS,  Deputy President,  American Cancer  Society (ACS)                                                               
Cancer   Action   Network,   presented  a   PowerPoint   entitled                                                               
"Eliminating Cancer in  Alaska - A Roadmap,"  and addressed slide                                                               
1,  "Cancer by  the Numbers."    She reported  that 1.66  million                                                               
Americans will  be diagnosed with  cancer in 2015, and  that over                                                               
580,000  Americans,  1,600 each  day,  will  die  in 2015.    She                                                               
relayed that one-half of all men  and one-third of all women will                                                               
have cancer this  year.  She declared that the  cost to Americans                                                               
this year will be more than  $201 billion.  She shared that there                                                               
were currently 15  million Americans with cancer, and  it was the                                                               
leading cause  of death in  Alaska, 23 percent, slide  2, "Alaska                                                               
Impact."   She  stated  that,  in Alaska,  3,700  people will  be                                                               
diagnosed with  cancer this year,  with about 25 percent  of them                                                               
dying.   She  moved  on to  slide 3,  "Changing  the Facts,"  and                                                               
stated that half of all  cancer deaths could be prevented through                                                               
changes in tobacco use, diet,  and physical activity, and ensured                                                               
access to health care.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
3:11:08 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MS. DANIELS directed  attention to slide 4,  "Highlights from the                                                               
first  100  years,"  and  shared   an  anecdote  that  the  three                                                               
researchers  pictured were  smoking pipes,  as they  thought this                                                               
was safer than  smoking cigarettes.  She offered  her belief that                                                               
all three  of them  eventually gave up  tobacco completely.   She                                                               
pointed to the  milestones listed in the  efforts against cancer.                                                               
Moving on to slide 5, "Highlights  from the first 100 years," she                                                               
pointed out that  ACS gave its first research grant  in Alaska in                                                               
2007,  to the  Alaska  Native  communities.   She  said that  ACS                                                               
Cancer Action  Network (CAN)  had taken a  much more  active role                                                               
with  public  policy  in  the  last  15  years  because  so  many                                                               
decisions  about  cancer were  made  in  the state  legislatures,                                                               
slide  6.   She  pointed  to  the  milestones after  the  Surgeon                                                               
General's report on  Smoking & Health in 1964  linked smoking and                                                               
lung  cancer, following  the  report in  1988  that nicotine  was                                                               
addictive, and the subsequent report  in 2006 that declared there                                                               
was "no risk-free  level of exposure to  secondhand smoke," slide                                                               
7.                                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
3:13:00 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MS. DANIELS  reminded the  committee that there  had been  a 2014                                                               
report from  the surgeon  general marking  50 years  of progress,                                                               
slide  8,  "The  Health  Consequences of  Smoking:  50  Years  of                                                               
Progress,"  which  provided even  more  evidence  of the  serious                                                               
damage  that  smoking  did  to  the  human  body.    This  report                                                               
commemorated the anniversary of the  first report, which had laid                                                               
the foundation  for today's  programs to  reduce the  disease and                                                               
death caused  by smoking,  slide 9.   She  reported that,  as the                                                               
chemicals had changed over the  years, cigarettes had become more                                                               
dangerous and  that smokers  today were two  to three  times more                                                               
likely to  die from  smoking related illness  than 50  years ago.                                                               
She stated  that this was double  the risk of death  for men, and                                                               
three times  the risk  for women.   She  emphasized that,  in the                                                               
United States, the  annual medical cost and  loss of productivity                                                               
due to  premature death from  secondhand smoke was more  than $10                                                               
billion.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
3:14:24 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE   STUTES  asked   whether  there   was  scientific                                                               
evidence to support the statements on slide 10.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
3:14:42 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
EMILY  NENON,  Alaska  Government  Relations  Director,  American                                                               
Cancer   Society   Cancer   Action  Network,   in   response   to                                                               
Representative  Stutes, stated  an emphatic  "yes, the  answer is                                                               
yes, and a lot of these  numbers here are documented in that U.S.                                                               
Surgeon General's Report from last  year."  She acknowledged that                                                               
there  were  variations  to  the  number  of  deaths  related  to                                                               
secondhand smoke,  as some  reports only  included adults  in the                                                               
measurement.   She  declared that  this was  a deadly  issue, and                                                               
there was extensive documentation in the report.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE STUTES asked for  clarification that this had been                                                               
connected to secondhand  smoke, noting that some  people had lung                                                               
cancer,  yet  they were  not  smokers  and  had not  been  around                                                               
smokers.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
MS. NENON  replied that the  large majority of lung  cancers were                                                               
related to  both smoking and  exposure to secondhand smoke.   She                                                               
reminded the  committee that  lung cancer  took time  to develop,                                                               
whereas cardio vascular disease occurred  much more quickly.  She                                                               
directed attention  to risk factors,  and reminded  the committee                                                               
of  the time  that  smoking  had been  allowed  in the  committee                                                               
rooms.   She  said that  ACS was  still working  on reducing  the                                                               
exposure to secondhand smoke for all workers.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
3:17:19 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MS.  NENON  moved  on  to  slide  11,  "Alaska  Milestones,"  and                                                               
declared that  Alaska had  a lot to  be proud of  as a  leader in                                                               
tobacco  prevention efforts.   She  stated that  three pieces  of                                                               
tobacco  prevention  worked  together: public  education  in  the                                                               
communities based  on the dangers  of tobacco use  and secondhand                                                               
smoke,  as  well  as support  for  comprehensive  prevention  and                                                               
cessation; an increase  in the price of the product  had a strong                                                               
impact  for  prevention to  the  use  of  tobacco by  kids;  and,                                                               
protection from  second hand smoke.   She reported that  the work                                                               
in Alaska had  resulted first in a decline in  youth smoking, and                                                               
now there  was a decline  in adult  smoking.  She  declared "it's                                                               
pretty stunning how far we've come."   She shared that the Cancer                                                               
Action  Network had  received recognition  from  the Centers  for                                                               
Disease  Control   and  Prevention   (CDC)  and   other  national                                                               
organizations for its  work in tobacco prevention  in Alaska, and                                                               
that there had  been successes in Alaska for  reducing the health                                                               
disparities around  tobacco use  and its  effects.   She directed                                                               
attention to the  drop in Alaska Native youth  smoking, which had                                                               
been faster  than that in  the general population.   She reported                                                               
that  smoking rates  for Alaska  Native adults  had dropped,  and                                                               
although they  were not yet statistically  significant, there was                                                               
a continued effort toward this.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
3:20:12 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MS.  NENON addressed  slide  13, "But:"  and  shared that  14,000                                                               
Alaska youth would die prematurely  from tobacco use, unless this                                                               
curve was altered.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
MS. NENON spoke about the  research on electronic cigarettes, and                                                               
noted  that the  long  term health  effects  were still  unknown,                                                               
slide 14, "New Products: Electronic  Cigarettes."  She said there                                                               
were more  than 400  individual products on  the market,  and, as                                                               
there was no regulation, it was  not possible to know what was in                                                               
any given product, which made  it very challenging.  She reported                                                               
on  legal  sales  of  electronic  cigarettes  with  marijuana  in                                                               
Colorado, with  flavorings added.   She shared that  enough added                                                               
flavorings would also  disguise the smell of the  marijuana.  She                                                               
stated that  a current  focus was  on protection  from secondhand                                                               
exposure.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR SEATON  mentioned that Alaska  had made it illegal  to sell                                                               
or give  non-tobacco nicotine to  children.  He pointed  out that                                                               
current   proposed   legislation   in   Alaska   prohibited   the                                                               
combination of nicotine or alcohol  with THC products.  He stated                                                               
that it was illegal for anyone  other than a physician to sell or                                                               
give an electronic cigarette as  a tobacco cessation product to a                                                               
minor.                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
3:23:51 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MS.  NENON  shared   that  Alaska  was  a   national  leader  for                                                               
recognizing  this  issue for  the  dangers  of starting  nicotine                                                               
addiction  very young.   She  reported on  new smokeless  tobacco                                                               
products in all manner of flavors.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
3:24:28 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MS. NENON  shared slide  15, "Next Steps,"  and said  that almost                                                               
half the  Alaska population was  covered by  smoke-free workplace                                                               
law.  Directing  attention to slide 16,  "Epidemic Underway," she                                                               
declared  that,  as  there  had  been  success  for  creating  an                                                               
awareness to  the link  between tobacco and  cancer, there  was a                                                               
newer, but stunning evidence base  to the link between nutrition,                                                               
physical activity,  and obesity.   She stated  that one  third of                                                               
all  cancer  deaths were  related  to  issues of  diet,  physical                                                               
activity, and obesity,  slide 17.  She  acknowledged some overlap                                                               
for these deaths,  as some people had more than  one risk factor.                                                               
She declared  that there  was a "stunning,  stunning link  and we                                                               
have  tools to  do something  about  it," slide  18, "The  Cancer                                                               
Link."   She pointed to  slide 19,  "Where we are  headed..." and                                                               
said  that the  cost curve  would continue  to go  upward as  the                                                               
obesity  rate   went  up,  unless   something  was  done.     She                                                               
acknowledged  that the  Alaska State  Legislature  had made  some                                                               
investment  in obesity  prevention, and  it was  showing results.                                                               
She stated  that the  youth obesity rates  were starting  to drop                                                               
and she  pointed to all  the different  pieces put into  place to                                                               
get to  this statistically significant  drop, slide  21, "Anatomy                                                               
of Success."                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
3:26:58 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  WOOL asked  where  Alaska  ranked nationally  for                                                               
obesity.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
MS. NENON said that she would report back with the information.                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
MS. NENON concluded  with slide 22, "Access  to Care," explaining                                                               
that  this was  the  third  piece for  tobacco  prevention.   She                                                               
stated  that  access to  cancer  screenings,  and the  subsequent                                                               
early  detection, had  brought a  drop to  colorectal and  breast                                                               
cancer  death   rates.     She  acknowledged   the  extraordinary                                                               
challenges for  access to care  in Alaska.   She stated  that her                                                               
organization  was   strongly  supportive  to  the   expansion  of                                                               
Medicaid to  give more people  health coverage.  She  shared that                                                               
future  work was  necessary for  access to  appropriate pain  and                                                               
symptom  management.   She  declared  that  it improved  survival                                                               
rates.   She  stated that  pain  management brought  a myriad  of                                                               
policy implications.                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
3:29:21 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MS. DANIELS closed  with slide 23, "Next Steps,"  and stated that                                                               
there was a  big national effort to build up  the advocacy with a                                                               
strong  volunteer  program.   She  reported  that the  volunteers                                                               
would  be working  in coalitions  to ensure  the information  was                                                               
disseminated, the public was educated,  and follow up information                                                               
was provided.  She shared that  there would be responses to other                                                               
issues such  as Vitamin D,  colorectal screening,  and Affordable                                                               
Care Act implementation issues.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
3:30:33 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  WOOL,  directing  attention  to  smoke-free  work                                                               
places and  the ability  for some  municipalities to  enact these                                                               
powers, asked if any states were smoke free.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MS.  DANIELS replied  that 26  states had  smoke-free workplaces,                                                               
restaurants,  and bars,  and that  very few  states did  not have                                                               
smoke-free communities.   She reported  that ACS CAN  was working                                                               
to  build more  smoke-free laws,  in  the hopes  that this  would                                                               
become  "a tipping  point in  those states  for statewide  laws."                                                               
She  opined that  60 percent  of the  population were  covered by                                                               
extensive smoke-free laws.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE WOOL asked about the percentage within Alaska.                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
MS. NENON replied that about  50 percent of Alaskans were covered                                                               
by strong  smoke-free laws.   She noted  that in 1998  Bethel was                                                               
the first community  to pass a smoke-free law, and  that list now                                                               
included   Barrow,  Dillingham,   Unalaska,  Juneau,   Anchorage,                                                               
Skagway, Haines,  Klawock, Palmer, and  Nome.  She  declared that                                                               
there  was  no  longer  surprise  when  ACS  CAN  announced  that                                                               
everyone  should  be  protected   from  secondhand  smoke.    She                                                               
acknowledged  that there  were some  issues  of limitations  with                                                               
borough health powers, as well  as 70,000 Alaskans were living in                                                               
an unorganized borough without a  local city council to take this                                                               
action.  She declared that the  State of Alaska became "the place                                                               
that can  take that action."   She  emphasized that she  was here                                                               
"to  talk  to  you  about  protecting  everyone  from  secondhand                                                               
smoke."                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
3:33:41 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR SEATON  declared that the  largest focus of  this committee                                                               
was  for prevention,  more  than  for access  or  treatment.   He                                                               
pointed out  that an emphasis  had been  for review of  data from                                                               
studies, especially for Vitamin D.   He referenced the nationwide                                                               
open clinical trial conducted by  Grass Roots Health and the data                                                               
for the 844 women  over 60 years of age whose  Vitamin D had been                                                               
elevated.   He reported that  the median  Vitamin D level  was 50                                                               
ng/ml and for  those women above the median, there  had been a 72                                                               
percent  reduction  in  the  rate of  relative  risk  for  breast                                                               
cancer.  He noted that, for  women over 60 in Alaska with Vitamin                                                               
D  above 50  ng/ml,  this  same reduction  of  relative risk  for                                                               
cancer  was  82  percent.    He asked  if  there  was  any  other                                                               
information  from   clinical  studies  or  trials   with  similar                                                               
results.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
MS.  NENON reflected  that  she  and Chair  Seaton  had had  this                                                               
conversation previously and that she  had spoken with the leading                                                               
researchers from her national  organization about this particular                                                               
issue.  She relayed that  there were many promising studies being                                                               
conducted,  which included  prevention for  the disease  process.                                                               
She stated that  the American Cancer Society was proud  to be the                                                               
second  largest  funder  of  cancer  research,  only  behind  the                                                               
federal government.   She reported that  ACS was in the  midst of                                                               
conducting  its third  cancer prevention  study, and  she pointed                                                               
out that  this was  a prospective study  which had  just finished                                                               
enrolling  300,000  individuals  nationwide.   She  relayed  that                                                               
there were questions about Vitamin  D included in the survey, and                                                               
that  ACS  had published  30  papers  during  the past  10  years                                                               
reviewing Vitamin  D.   She stated  that there  was "particularly                                                               
promising information  looking at  the link between  higher blood                                                               
levels of  Vitamin D  and reduction in  colorectal cancer."   She                                                               
noted  that this  was of  particular interest  in Alaska,  as the                                                               
Alaska Native population had the  highest incidence of colorectal                                                               
cancer of  any population  group in  the nation.   She  said that                                                               
there were  challenges for randomized  control trials  because so                                                               
many people were already taking Vitamin D supplements.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
3:38:03 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  SEATON  shared information  about  the  work by  Professor                                                               
Hollis  in Atlanta,  and the  thermal micrographs  of human  cell                                                               
colonies infused  with Vitamin D3.   He reminded that  Vitamin D3                                                               
was used up  very rapidly as it  only had a 24  hour half-life in                                                               
the  body and  that  it was  necessary to  have  a regular  daily                                                               
dosing regimen  for Vitamin D to  be utilized by the  soft tissue                                                               
for prevention of cancer.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
3:40:08 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MS. NENON, in  response to Representative Wool,  said that Alaska                                                               
Natives had  the highest  incidence of  colorectal cancer  of any                                                               
population group in the nation,  twice that of the national white                                                               
population.   She pointed out  that this did  not show up  on the                                                               
CDC website as Alaska Natives  and American Indians were combined                                                               
as a  population group.   She relayed that African  Americans had                                                               
1.5 times  the risk  for colorectal cancer  compared to  the U.S.                                                               
white population.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
3:41:13 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE WOOL asked if there  were other causation and risk                                                               
factors for this high rate among Alaska Natives.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
MS. NENON  replied that tobacco  use rates in Alaska  were higher                                                               
than the  national average and, as  that lowered, there may  be a                                                               
lowering of  the colorectal cancer  rate, as well.   She declared                                                               
that  the ACS  CAN  focus was  for  prevention through  screening                                                               
colonoscopies, and subsequent removal of polyps.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
^PRESENTATION: Alaska Youth Policy Summit                                                                                     
            PRESENTATION: Alaska Youth Policy Summit                                                                        
                                                                                                                              
3:42:31 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR SEATON announced that the  final order of business would be                                                               
a presentation by the Alaska Youth Policy Summit.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
3:45:25 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
RUSTY BEST,  Organizer, Alaska Youth Policy  Summit, Alaska Youth                                                               
and  Family Network,  said that  the Alaska  Youth Policy  Summit                                                               
brought  youth  from all  over  Alaska  to share  their  stories,                                                               
discuss  the  impacts to  their  lives,  and strategize  ways  to                                                               
change the future for other youth in Alaska.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
3:46:02 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
HEATHER  KELLY, Alaska  Youth Policy  Summit, said  that she  had                                                               
struggled with alcohol  and substance abuse for  eight years, and                                                               
that earlier this year, she had  decided to change her life.  She                                                               
stated that  there was not  any help available in  Fairbanks, and                                                               
that she was  told to go to  Anchorage.  She said  that there was                                                               
only one detox  center in the state,  and that it was  full.  She                                                               
shared that she  met with the Alaska Native  Justice Center youth                                                               
coordinator  and this  was where  she found  help.   She reported                                                               
that she waited  for 40 days to get into  a residential treatment                                                               
center,  and  that  she  was finally  stable  enough  to  undergo                                                               
intensive outpatient treatment.  She  asked for betterment to the                                                               
residential treatment center,  as it was very  overcrowded and it                                                               
was  necessary for  those seeking  recovery to  not wait  months.                                                               
She asked that personal youth navigators be available for help.                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  SEATON  asked  for confirmation  that  the  Alaska  Native                                                               
Justice  Center was  in Anchorage,  and  that was  where she  had                                                               
first found help.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
3:48:24 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
BENJAMIN DAHL-ROUZEN,  Alaska Youth  Policy Summit,  relayed that                                                               
he had been in foster care from  ages five to ten years.  He said                                                               
that  during that  time he  would  repeatedly lash  out in  anger                                                               
because  he had  been exposed  to domestic  violence, drugs,  and                                                               
alcohol  issues in  his  home.   He shared  that  he finally  had                                                               
counselling at  8 years of  age, and  that had helped  him better                                                               
himself, not blame others, and not  take his anger out on others.                                                               
He said that  he was adopted at  10 years of age,  which gave him                                                               
an opportunity to  better himself.  This had a  big impact on his                                                               
life.  He asked for support for  proposed HB 27, and he asked for                                                               
more  funding for  homeless youth  through Boys  and Girls  Club,                                                               
YMCA,  and  Covenant House,  organizations  which  had been  very                                                               
supportive and influential to him.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
3:50:16 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
LEE BREINIG,  Alaska Youth  Policy Summit, shared  that he  was a                                                               
student at the University of  Alaska Anchorage (UAA) with a major                                                               
in  health and  human  services.   He  reported  that  he had  an                                                               
addiction to  opioid narcotics  while in  high school  in Juneau,                                                               
and continued to  struggle with his addiction  after high school,                                                               
dealing  and committing  crimes  to support  his  addiction.   In                                                               
2010,  he  was charged  with  felonious  possession of  a  stolen                                                               
handgun,  and  subsequently  he   went  to  a  treatment  center,                                                               
Providence Breakthrough,  in Anchorage.  After  his treatment, he                                                               
spent four  months in jail and  during that time, he  had decided                                                               
to pursue  a career  in substance abuse  counseling.   He offered                                                               
his  belief that  the barrier  crimes matrix  currently in  place                                                               
with the  Department of Health  and Social Services needed  to be                                                               
re-examined.   He  expressed  his understanding  that  it was  in                                                               
place  to  protect  vulnerable populations  from  abuse,  but  he                                                               
suggested  that  there was  research  which  showed there  was  a                                                               
"better buy-in  from your  clients" if they  were working  with a                                                               
substance abuse  counselor who had  "field experience."   Because                                                               
of the barrier crimes matrix  and his criminal background, he had                                                               
been  limited to  volunteer  work and  internship  at the  Alaska                                                               
Native  Justice  Center.    He  shared that  he  was  98  percent                                                               
complete with his  degree, but that the  barrier crimes prevented                                                               
him from  getting a  job.   He noted  that he  was 26  years old,                                                               
living with his mom, and he was ready to "get on with my life."                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
3:53:20 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
SAMUEL JOHNSON, Alaska  Youth Policy Summit, shared  that, as his                                                               
sister  had  multiple  disabilities,  his  father  was  a  slight                                                               
workaholic, and his  mother spent a lot of time  with his sister,                                                               
he  had to  assume a  place of  responsibility in  his household,                                                               
bringing  with it  early maturity  and  an ability  to guide  his                                                               
peers.  He  noted that his peers would bring  him their problems,                                                               
ranging from teen angst to  self-harm, eating disorders, drug and                                                               
alcohol  addictions,  bi-polar  disorder,  and  consideration  of                                                               
suicide.  As a  peer, he could only offer a  listening ear, so he                                                               
would often  suggest that his  peers get counselors.   He relayed                                                               
that  some of  his  peers  had their  parents  deny  help from  a                                                               
counselor.   He proposed an idea  for teen clinics to  allow them                                                               
to see  counselors, regardless of parental  permission, as "youth                                                               
is a very  volatile time for adolescents and  it's very important                                                               
what happens in  youth, it affects your entire life."   He stated                                                               
that the better your childhood, the  more likely you were to have                                                               
a successful adult  life.  He declared that, as  there were a lot                                                               
of stigmas  attached to  kids, it was  usually more  difficult to                                                               
pass  any  legislation  unless  it   made  rules  stricter.    He                                                               
suggested that  a better  window for  kids, ages  16 -  18, would                                                               
allow for counselors and clinics.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
3:56:08 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
ROBIN AHGUPUK, Alaska  Youth Policy Summit, shared that  he was a                                                               
former foster  youth, and had been  in foster care for  15 years,                                                               
with 48  placements, and 52 social  workers.  He had  attended 18                                                               
different schools, and he was  a loner, which had harmful effects                                                               
to his  immune system  and brought on  depression.   He suggested                                                               
that  there needed  to  be better  background  checks for  social                                                               
workers,  and to  lower social  worker caseloads,  reporting that                                                               
his  last  social worker  had  150  cases  which was  harmful  to                                                               
everyone involved.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
3:57:40 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  SEATON  suggested that  there  may  be an  opportunity  to                                                               
incorporate some of these ideas into future legislation.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
3:58:04 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
ADJOURNMENT                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
There being no  further business before the  committee, the House                                                               
Health  and  Social  Services   Standing  Committee  meeting  was                                                               
adjourned at 3:58 p.m.                                                                                                          

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network Presentation for HSS February 17 2015 en.pdf HHSS 2/17/2015 3:00:00 PM
Presentation- Cancer Action Network