In 2016, there were 54 drug overdose deaths in North Dakota. While North Dakota is doing better compared to the nation as a whole, the rise in deaths since 2014 is alarming.
Our Malique Rankin spoke to a teen who is a recovering addict; working every day to stay sober.
Audrey Snyder; 19-year-old: “Now I’m 19. And I have felonies and I can’t go back. I can’t go change the past, but all I can do is move forward.”
Her story starts at age 12 when she began smoking pot, but the drug use didn’t end there.
Audrey Snyder: “At 15 I started getting into meth, and then I had my son when I was 16… I started doing heroin at 17. I started IV using almost daily. I didn’t really care if I lived or died and I was in jail a lot.”
Audrey works on her recovery everyday and has had some help. Because of intervention programs, Audrey said her life changed when she got a visit in jail from 2 ND Teen Challenge counselors.
Kathryn Helgaas Burgum; First Lady of ND: “Addiction is a disease. So we look at opportunities to provide potential intervention or treatment and recovery. What can we do to connect those people, potentially with resources.”
The Office of the first lady, the behavioral health department, human services, and the AG’s office are just of few of the entities working together to stop overdoses.”
And they continue to introduce programs to address the epidemic.
Randy Ziegler: “in what we’ve seized in the Bismarck area as far as heroin, in 2014, we seized 17 grams of heroin. In 2017, we confiscated over 100 grams.”
That’s why Ziegler says starting prevention young, as early as grade school is best.
So no one gets left behind…
Audrey Snyder: “It’s just awesome to know that I’m worth something.”
For now, through the ND teen and adult program, her goal– graduating.
Audrey Snyder: “The prosecutor told me that he just wants me to graduate teen challenge. and do 2 years of probation. so that’s what I’m doing.”
Audrey is still going through the teen challenge program now. After she graduates, she hopes to work at teen challenge, helping others like they helped her.
We at KX News know how opioids can devastate families and leave those facing addiction feeling hopeless. For several resources to help those facing addiction, click here.