Alaska State Representative Matt Claman
State Representative Matt Claman’s office submitted these responses to the American Opioid Podcast on 2/22/2019 10:48:29 AM.
What district of Alaska do you represent?
Briefly, how would you describe the opioid crisis in your state?
The opioid crisis affects people across Alaska from all socio-economic classes. The severity is reflected in increased overdose deaths since the late 1990s, increased property crime, and impacts in the workplace.
What are the two or three most significant bills that have been introduced in your chamber to help alleviate the opioid crisis in your state?
Beginning with SB 64 in 2014, we have passed a series of criminal justice reform bills (SB 91 (2016), SB 54 & SB 55 (2017), and HB 312 (2018) that began differentiating violent from non-violent crime and focusing more rehabilitation resources on non-violent and drug offenders to reduce recidivism.
What was your involvement, if any, in those bills (e.g., introduction, advocacy, vote pledge)?
I actively supported and spoke in committees and on the house floor in support of all of the justice reform legislation. I sponsored HB 312, which passed the Alaska Senate 19-0 and the Alaska House 39-1.
Have any of the bills passed? If not, why?
All of the bills passed.
What was the most memorable experience you had while learning about the opioid crisis in your state?
Learning how the widening gap between overdose death and the homicide deaths reflects the severity of the opioid crisis.
If you had a magic wand that allowed you to pass any legislation you wanted in order to help alleviate the opioid crisis in your state, what would that legislation look like?
Two parts: (1) appropriations to fund additional treatment facilities and (2) legislation reasonably tailored to meet real world treatment options.