Methadone Clinics in Chugiak

Chugiak, Alaska, United States adheres to strict federal and state regulations regarding methadone clinics, outlined by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) and Alaska State Statutes. These regulations cover certification, operations, purpose, and insurance coverage of clinics.

To be certified and licensed to operate a methadone clinic in Alaska, facilities must:

  • Complete application requirements for federal and state agencies
  • Pass inspections and audits
  • Have medical director oversight
  • Maintain controlled medication dispensing protocols

Benefits of methadone maintenance therapy include:

  • Reducing illicit opioid drug use and overdose deaths
  • Improving patient survival rates and social functioning
  • Lowering risk of HIV and hepatitis infections
  • Allowing patients to focus on recovery and rehabilitation

How clinics operate and their purpose:

Methadone clinics provide medication-assisted treatment for those recovering from opioid addiction. Clinics offer directly observed methadone dosing, counseling, drug testing, and case management to support sobriety and improved health.

Insurance Coverage

  • In Alaska, Medicaid and some private insurers cover methadone treatment costs. Uninsured patients may qualify for state funding assistance.
  • Out-of-pocket costs may include copays or monthly program fees on a sliding scale based on income.

Drug Use in Chugiak

Opioid Crisis Declared Public Health Emergency

In 2017, the opioid crisis was declared a nationwide public health emergency. Alaska has been significantly impacted, with heroin and prescription opioid overdoses increasing across the state.

Statistics on Drug Overdoses and Deaths

  • In 2020, there were 153 overdose deaths involving opioids in Alaska – a rate of 21.1 deaths per 100,000 persons compared to the national rate of 21.6.
  • Over half of these deaths involved prescription opioids or heroin.
  • Alcohol and methamphetamine are also substances commonly abused in the state.

Addiction Treatment Overview

Inpatient Treatment

  • Typically lasts 28 days. Involves 24/7 care with counseling, group therapy, medication management and other services.

Outpatient Treatment

  • Varies from weekly to daily sessions. Provides counseling, therapy, and other services in clinics instead of overnight care.

Treatment Level Unreported

  • An estimated 9.5% of Alaskans needed but did not receive addiction treatment in 2020. Stigma and lack of behavioral health providers contribute to this gap.

Comparison of Treatment in Chugiak vs Anchorage




Number of treatment facilities



Inpatient beds available



Cost of 30 days inpatient treatment



Methadone Treatment

What is Methadone

Methadone is an opioid agonist medication used to treat opioid use disorder and dependence. As medication-assisted treatment (MAT), methadone helps prevent withdrawal symptoms and drug cravings by activating opioid receptors in the brain, while blocking euphoric effects of other opioids. It is taken orally once daily in supervised opioid treatment programs (OTPs).

Societal perspectives on methadone treatment are mixed, with some seeing it as merely replacing one addiction with another, while supporters emphasize its efficacy in retaining patients in treatment and reducing illegal opioid use and associated harms. In layman’s terms, methadone occupies receptors in the brain, stabilizing patients and allowing them to function without the highs and lows of opioid misuse.

Methadone Distribution

Methadone distribution is highly regulated with monitoring requirements:

  • Urine testing: Patients must undergo at least 8 random tests in the first year to detect any unauthorized drug use.
  • Take-home doses: Limited to a 24-hour supply in the first 14 days to prevent diversion.
  • Interprofessional monitoring: OTPs should have teams of doctors, nurses, counselors to oversee treatment.
  • Prescription checks: Clinicians should review state prescription drug monitoring program (PDMP) data to ensure safe methadone dosage.

As a Schedule II controlled substance, methadone access and distribution are strictly regulated by state and federal agencies.

Methadone Treatment Effectiveness Research

Methadone is an effective medication for treating opioid use disorder used since 1947.

Evidence for Effectiveness

Studies show methadone MAT:

  • Reduces opioid-positive drug tests by 33%
  • Increases treatment retention 4.44x compared to non-medication approaches
  • Retaining patients reduces overdose and disease transmission risks and increases employment opportunities

Major Drawbacks

  • Potential for misuse/diversion with severe withdrawal if stopped suddenly
  • Can prolong the QT interval, increasing cardiac issues
  • Respiratory depression/overdose risk when combined with other substances

Comparison to Other Medications

Methadone and buprenorphine are equally effective for reducing illicit opioid use.

About Chugiak

Chugiak is located in Southcentral Alaska, situated approximately 20 miles north of Anchorage. It is located in the Municipality of Anchorage in the Anchorage Recording District.

The neighboring states to Alaska are Canada to the east, the Arctic Ocean to the north, and the Pacific Ocean to the south and west. Anchorage is both the capital and largest city in Alaska. Chugiak has a total area of 67.8 square miles.

Population Statistics

The 2020 census recorded Chugiak’s population at 8,932 residents.



  • Male: 51.1%
  • Female: 48.9%

Age Brackets:

  • Under 18 years: 19.7%
  • 18 to 64 years: 59.7%
  • 65 years and over: 20.6%


  • Management, business, science and arts occupations: 32.2%
  • Service occupations: 20.3%
  • Sales and office occupations: 27.3%
  • Natural resources, construction, maintenance occupations: 13.5%
  • Production and transportation occupations: 6.7%