Recently, Governor Palin talked about Alaska ranking first in the nation for sexual assault. We also rank first for our rate of addiction. CBS 11 News takes a closer look at how this epidemic is affecting our youth.

While the statistics certainly are sobering, they are just that: numbers. But when you start putting faces to those percentages, the effects of alcoholism and drug abuse become downright sobering.

CBS 11 News visited Arch, a nonprofit teen treatment center run by the Volunteers of America. Because the clients at this facility are all under the age of 18-years-old, we have, for obvious reasons, chosen not to reveal their identities.

"I have an intervention here. And it's to talk about my feelings.

CEO of Volunteers of America, Elaine Dahlgren
CEO of Volunteers of America, Elaine Dahlgren
And these are things I struggle most with here," said one teen who is being treated at the facility.

This young Alaskan, is battling a brutal addiction. But with the help of this residential program, he says he feels confident for the first time in his life that he will win.

"And I'm going to put this one here by the bathroom, because I use the bathroom every once in a while, you know," said the teen.

The teen is referring to one of many tools that are used to help with their daily struggle to stay sober and drug free: a list that he keeps on the wall by the bathroom.

"Because without this program, to me the bottom line is always about kids. And kids die without treatment. So this program is extremely important for Alaska," said the CEO of Volunteers of America, Elaine Dahlgren.

The problem is, this center in Eagle River is small. They can only help a handful of teens at a time; and the waiting list is long.

"I've been with this organization 19 years and the need is just immense. It just just keeping coming down the river. And I keep wondering: why doesn't someone just go up stream and see why kids are falling in," said Dahlgren.

The reason for this young addict was simple.

"I think a lot of the reason was I watched my parents do it--especially my dad. He was really into it a lot. He was an alcoholic; my mom drank occasionally. And I've just seen it all. It was in the house; it was available. It just seemed cool. I've seen my role models doing it," said the teen.

For most of these teens, they are not the first in their families to face addiction. They attest it truly is a cycle that needs to be broken.

It's one the staff at Volunteers of America is working hard at.

"We provide services if they have a need. So regardless of whether or not they are able to pay, we provide treatment for them.

Clinical Director, Corrina Batten
Clinical Director, Corrina Batten
So clients are not turned away if they can't pay for the service," said clinical director, Corrina Batten.

It's a service that is desperately needed in the state. Staff say they can only dream about the day they have enough beds to help all those in need. Arch has been around for more than two decades. They are now in the process of building a new facility that will allow them to treat more teens.

To contact Laura, call 907-273-3186.