780 AM | 96.1 FM | “Yours for Western Alaska”

Sounding Board: Alcohol and the Law

Our October 16th show on alcohol is over. Thank you so much for calling in to share your thoughts on alcohol use, regulation and treatment in your community.

Unfortunately, due to technical difficulties, the audio from this week’s show is not available online. We apologize for any inconvenience. If you have any questions about what was discussed, you can contact us at talk@knom.org or read below for more details.

Our callers:

Kirsten from Nome shared her graduate research, which found that local option laws were ineffective in helping the social problems that result from alcohol in Alaskan villages. She suggested more regional empowerment including an emphasis on tribal courts and more accountability in village communities.

Mary from Fairbanks sent us her experience with the harmful effects of criminalizing those who use/possess alcohol. She voiced her concern for those living in villages who have few resources to defend themselves, pay fines and seek help. Bridy from Nome called from Kawerak Wellness and talked about the Community Alcohol Safety Team, a state-funded group which works to address alcohol abuse and binge drinking in adults and youth. If interested in participating, you can all (907) 443-4393.

Herman from Aniak spoke about how alcohol can lead to addiction and violence, and expressed that legalizing alcohol and making it more available would only make those problems more pronounced.

Richard from Nome spoke about his personal experience as an alcoholic and shared words of encouragement for others who may be coping with alcoholism or substance abuse. He encourages people to seek help any way they can, including through Alcoholics Anonymous.

Our interviews:

Lance Johnson from Behavioral Health at Norton Sound Hospital shared options for treatment in the region and plans for additional treatment programs. The number for Behavioral Health in Nome is (907) 443-3344. People located outside of Nome can contact their Village Health Aide and ask about Behavioral Health Services and Treatment.

Tristen Pattee is a proponent of legalizing alcohol in villages and supported a petition in Ambler to rid of local option laws. He spoke about the benefits legalization of alcohol has on the community, including taking control from bootleggers, channeling revenue to create substance abuse education and support programs, and getting funding and support for more law enforcement in villages including a VPSO and VPO.


If you live in western Alaska, you know alcohol can be a controversial subject.

This week on Sounding Board, we’re talking about alcohol and the law in our communities. It’s a tough conversation, we know. But whether your home is dry, damp or wet — alcohol impacts us all. And we want to hear from you about regulation, consumption and treatment in your area.

  • What does alcohol use look like in your life?
  • Do you live in a dry, wet or damp community?
  • How does the legality of alcohol in your area compare to the reality?
  • Are there resources for substance abuse treatment near you?
  • Do you think alcohol should be legal in your community? Why or why not?

Call in on Thursday at 10 o’clock to share your thoughts on alcohol in western Alaska — and your suggestions for the future.