May 11, 2010

Drinking not just a problem in rural Alaska

"Public drinking arrests rise in Fairbanks" was published in the Fairbanks Daily News Miner on May 9th and it interests me because I work at the ER Admissions desk and we see A LOT of intoxicated patients. So it makes me wonder if Fairbanks has more of a drinking problem then some of the rural villages? The article states that one officer arrested 10 people in one day because they were intoxicated (among other things) and this is an increase from the winter. So why do we have so many people that a intoxicated in public? Is it because people normally drink inside, then decide to come outside because of the nice weather? Are people coming in from the wet/damp/dry villages and getting hammered? From my personal experience, majority of the intoxicated individuals that come in are 1) homeless 2) native 3) visiting from a village 5) jobless 6) lost their family and friends because of their alcoholism.

Using the Critical Power Conflict Theory, it seems like the intoxicated people are powerless because they are not able to control their addiction (especially if they are coming in from a village), so then who is in power? I would think that sober individuals are in control, only because they are functional members of society and are not getting arrested for public intoxication, DUI's, etc. Our society (Fairbanks) is in constant conflict with the drunks and are trying to oppress them, especially in the summer!

I think Fairbanks will always have some type of problem, if we took all the alcohol away, then we would have problems with drugs, if we took drugs away, we would have problems with guns, etc. So with this being said, I think we are always going to have group conflict with the "lesser" group because we don't agree with what they are doing.

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