780 AM | 96.1 FM 

“YOURS FOR WESTERN ALASKA”

(907) 443-5221

More Drugs Seized Headed for Western Alaska Last Year

Black and white photo of prescription drugs falling out of bottle
Prescription drugs spilled out. Photo by ajay_suresh is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Over the course of two weeks last fall, the Western Alaska Alcohol and Narcotics (WAANT) task force successfully seized two shipments of heroin and methamphetamine (estimated street value of $61,000) before it could be sold in Norton Sound communities.

Captain Andrew Gorn, the commander of the Alaska Bureau of Investigation of Statewide Drug Enforcement for Alaska State Troopers, said local support has been essential.

“If we don’t have support of a community, what are we? We have to have it to do the job right. Otherwise we’re coming into a community, we’re doing what the letter of the law says, and we’re immediately leaving. There needs to be a step in there where there is some time of relationship built and trust built,” Gorn said. He is also concerned about the market for illegal drugs in Western Alaska.

Lance Johnson, who leads the hospital’s behavioral health services, said “We’re a trauma rich region. We have a lot of historical trauma, intergenerational trauma that plays into the mental health needs we see in the region… That doesn’t go away quickly by any means.” He hopes the community’s investment in behavioral health, in concert with a trusting relationship with law enforcement, can build a more hopeful future. Johnson said his staff plans to open a new Wellness Center this spring, offering more intensive drug and alcohol treatment in Nome.

Image at top: A photo of a prescription pill bottle with drugs spilled out. Photo by ajay_suresh is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

Share this story

Facebook
Twitter
LinkedIn
Email

Recent Posts

KNOM Radio to Host First-Ever Music Fest

KNOM Radio Mission will host its first-ever Music Fest Friday and Saturday, June 14 and 15. The event, hosted at KNOM’s Back Yard, will be a great opportunity for the Bering Strait region to gather and celebrate the start of summer. Admission to the event is free.  The two-day Music Fest will feature

Read More »

June 13: Rick Thoman’s Climate Highlight for Western Alaska

The following is a transcript from Rick Thoman’s weekly “Climate Highlight for Western Alaska” provided to KNOM Radio. Thoman is a Climate Specialist with the Alaska Center for Climate Assessment and Policy at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. Sea ice has not completely melted out of the Bering Sea, there

Read More »

Teller Man Arrested for Terroristic Threatening

A Teller man has been arrested and transported to Nome’s Anvil Mountain Correctional Center following allegations of threatening to burn down a house, according to an affidavit from Alaska State Troopers. The affidavit reports that Chester Topkok, 26, was reported by his niece, Belinda Smith, who called Troopers on June

Read More »

Charity Lewis Crowned Miss ANB 2024

Charity Lewis was crowned 2024’s Miss Alaska Native Brotherhood (ANB) at the pageant held on June 12. The event held at Nome’s Mini Convention Center showcased the cultural heritage of two contestants, Victoria Gray and Charity Lewis. Both participated in Miss ANB for the first time.  The pageant began with

Read More »

More

Newsletter:

Work for Us:

Jobs

Contact

Nome:

(907) 443-5221 

Anchorage:

(907) 868-1200 

Land Acknowledgement

We acknowledge that KNOM Radio Mission is located on the customary lands of Indigenous peoples. 

Based in the Bering Strait region, KNOM broadcasts throughout the homelands of the Iñupiaq, Siberian Yup’ik, Cup’ik and Yup’ik peoples.