Drug use in very rural Alaska villages

Verner Stillner, Robert F. Kraus, Carl G. Leukefeld, David Hardenbergh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


The Alaska Native Preschool Project was centered in the Head Start Programs of two typical Alaska native villages near the Bering Sea. Data were collected over 5 years, 1990 to 1995, from preschool parents (N = 342) with surveys, a panel of villagers (N = 25 to 30) using qualitative interviews; villagers using participant observation; and a limited review of public records. The villages typify the changing life of Alaskan villagers who live in the Bering Straits area. Qualitative data indicated that a number of problems were associated with drug and alcohol use in the villages. The level of smokeless tobacco use from surveys in the previous month among preschool parents (41%) was self-reported to be almost 10 times greater than the national level reported in the 1995 National Household Survey. The use of marijuana reported by preschool parents in the previous month was almost 3 times higher than the 1995 National Household Survey estimates (19 vs 6.7%). Tobacco use in the previous month was reported at over 56%, a level that was over 1 1/2 times the level of use at 34.7% estimated from the 1995 National Household Survey. For 26-34 year olds, previous month alcohol use was lower for the village parents than estimated from the 1995 National Household Survey (38 vs 63%). The self-reported levels of other drug use among preschool parents were very low compared with overall United States rates.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)579-593
Number of pages15
JournalSubstance Use and Misuse
Issue number4-5
StatePublished - 1999

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This study was supported by the Center for Substance Abuse Prevention (CSAP) Grant H86 OPO1810 to RurAL CAP in Anchorage, Alaska. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of CSAP or RurAL CAP.


  • Alaska
  • Native Alaskans
  • Substance abuse

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Health(social science)
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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