AK Chief Medical Examiner and Prior Drug History

Tools

by Gretchen Parsons

ANCHORAGE-  Dr. Zientek has since been named the Alaska Chief Medical Examiner this past January of 2014.

     
The doctor's new position entails determining the cause of deaths statewide in Alaska and presenting the findings to a jury in the court of law.
 
Some think Dr. Zientek's past history could hurt his credibility when on the stand.
 
Dr. Zientek's license was suspended for four years in Virginia and in July of 2000 was convicted of three felony drug charges that were later reduced to misdemeanors.
   
The Chief Medical Examiner has now been sober for ten years but acknowledges it is still a struggle.
 
"To me, it was a struggle for quite awhile to get sober.  At times, I didn't think it was going to happen.  I just never quit. But ten years is a long time and I'm sure your familiar with the slogan one day at a time and that's all i do. I wake up everyday and the most important thing is staying sober because I wont have anything else without that.  Anything I put in front of my recovery i will lose," says Dr. Zientek.
 
In a state plagued by alcoholism and drug addiction, Dr. Zientek says he hopes to relay his experiences as an addict and going through recovery to Alaskans struggling with the same disease.
 
Dr. Zientek says he has been upfront since he moved here about his past addiction and the legal trouble it has caused him.
     
When applying for the position of Chief Medical Examiner in January, Governor Sean Parnell's Administration thanking him for being up front.