In early February, more than 60 people gathered at the Ted Ferry Civic Center to talk about “polysubstance misuse” in the Ketchikan community.
Information gathered during the community café event organized by the Ketchikan Wellness Coalition is intended to provide Ketchikan-specific information for the state’s Office of Substance Misuse and Addiction Prevention’s work to update the Statewide Opioid Action Plan that guides prevention work statewide. 
Earlier this month, the Office of Subsistence Misuse and Addiction Prevention made available a 20-plus page document containing the “raw, unprocessed information” that was provided during the community café event in Ketchikan — with the intent that it be useful for community planning activities by local organizations and providers, policy makers and community members.
During the February event, attendees provided responses to a series of questions in different categories, such as factors unique to Ketchikan; knowledge and perception of polysubstance abuse; and existing efforts — and gaps in those efforts — to respond to polysubstance abuse.  
The questions seek out the factors that contribute to drug abuse, and the factors that help protect the community from abuse.
The responses listed in the document range from a single word to a full sentence. Each provides a glimpse into one or more of the many facets that are involved with, or are affected by, drug abuse in Ketchikan.
What becomes most clear from reading the responses is that there’s no easy, one-size-fits-all fix. The issues range from the deeply personal to the community specific to those of the broader society and culture. 
It’s difficult for any community to address a range like that.
But knowledge and understanding are the basic tools the community needs to build upon and refine the responses that we have. This document of local community responses to specific questions can add to that understanding, and we appreciate all of those who organized and contributed to the process of making it available.