Public Health and Prevention

VOA Alaska’s public health and prevention programs aim to prevent youth substance misuse from occurring in the first place.

Our team is on the front line of prevention, working to strengthen and promote healthy communities. We conduct regular drug information classes for youth and adults; create public education campaigns to encourage healthy behaviors and prevention; distribute tobacco quit-kits, drug disposal bags, and other prevention resources; and lead a coalition of stakeholders to produce efforts to address substance misuse.

This class made me realize I don't want to be like the people I see in my life who don't have goals and live to party and party to live.

Helping Alaskans Reach Their Prime

VOA Alaska offers PRIME for Life (PFL), an evidence-based prevention and intervention program which helps people learn to reduce their risks of alcohol and drug related problems throughout life. This important two-day alcohol and drug risk reduction program is designed for people who have begun using alcohol and other drugs, or who are part of a group where some alcohol and drug use is likely. 

Participants will learn new information that helps reduce risk for any future alcohol and other drug related problems throughout life. PFL provides a clear understanding of how our own biology and our behavior affect our risk for problems. It also helps people understand that many things inside them – and within our society – influence our choices. They will learn how to respond to these influences in a way that reduces their risk for problems. The class also gives people a clear understanding of how their choices can create risk, and the importance of always making low-risk choices about alcohol and other drugs.

VOA Alaska is proud to offer PFL courses for participants from across the state through online delivery of this course through Zoom. The virtual class is offered Monday and Tuesday, while an in-person class is offered Thursday and Friday (with a six student limit). 

Classes are available for youth and adults. Each course includes two 4-hour sessions, held from 8am to 12pm. 

The PRIME for Life Program:

  • Engages participants in self-evaluation of their decision to use drugs and alcohol.
  • Helps participants see the life-long consequences of drug and alcohol use.
  • Equips participants with the skills needed to prevent future substance abuse.

Questions about Prime For Life?

Phone: (907) 279-9640

In 2020, the VOA Alaska led Anchorage Adolescent Substance Misuse Prevention Coalition assembled and distributed 500 overdose kits, 358 tobacco prevention bags, and 80 medication disposal bags.

Anchorage Adolescent Substance Misuse Prevention Coalition

The Coalition is a broad-based, multi-sector coalition of community stakeholders invested in preventing adolescent substance misuse in Anchorage through the promotion of healthy behaviors in youth and their families.

To prevent adolescent substance misuse we will:

  1. Support evidence-based programs, projects, and innovations that increase adolescent and family protective factors, decrease risk factors for substance misuse, address trauma, and are holistic in nature
  2. Advance and advocate for relevant policy
  3. Promote efficient, cohesive, and inclusive coordination and collaboration around adolescent substance misuse prevention across sectors to ensure that efforts and interventions are effective community-wide
  4. Celebrate recovery and promote the values and lived experience of the recovery community

Partners include: Providence Hospital, Recover Alaska, NAMI Anchorage, Boys & Girls Club of AK, Covenant House AK, Akeela, Anchorage Youth and Family Network, Center for Safe Alaskans, and the Anchorage Health Department. Please join us in these efforts!

Lonnie Ridgeway speaking at a basketball camp
Lonnie Ridgeway speaks at a youth basketball camp about prevention and goal setting. Having positive adult role-models in the lives of young people is key to building a healthier community.