Anchorage businesses struggle with public drunks

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by Your Alaska Link News Team
by Victoria Taylor

ANCHORAGE-Public inebriation may not be a problem for every business in downtown, but several are saying they battle public drunks on an almost daily basis.

"This past Saturday we actually had a lady pass out next to our snow bank parking area," said Louis Imbriany, a mangers assistant at Alaska's Gourmet Subs.

Officials say there is a misconception homeless equals inebriate. According to Paul Fuhs, the Executive Director of the Fairview Business Association, only about 400 individuals are consistent contributors to the problematic public drinking.

"I've seen the same 3 to 4 people digging through my trash can or stumbling through the street, asking to use our bathroom," said Imbriany. He says the trash can rummaging is one of the biggest problems they face.
Imbriany said he actually had one encounter get violent,"I asked him to stop. Most of the time if they even see you they run away. This guy proceeded to tear up the trash can and throw the garbage at me."

Some suggestions for drowning out this  issue include better equipping detox centers and building more transitional housing.

The biggest recommendation, change the way alcohol taxes are used.Alaska has some of the highest alcohol taxes in the nation.
" It generates about fourty million dollars a year in taxes. Only about 20 of that is spent on treatments so were saying lets put the rest of that back into treatment," said Fuhs.

The public partying problem isn't going away overnight. Businesses like the sub shop are implementing protocol for employee safety.