The North Dakota Department of Human Services hosted the first ever “A Day for Prevention.” Speakers from across the country were brought in to talk about different approaches to preventing addiction.
Along with speakers, people from communities, small and large, from across the state came to hear what new ideas and strategies can be implemented in their own neighborhood.
It’s a way for everyone in the fight against addiction to network and learn what works.
North Dakota is recently ranked the drunkest state in the country.. and has seen an increase in opioid-related deaths.
Which leaves the state with plenty of room to improve.
North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum and his wife, Kathryn Helgaas Burgum spoke to the nearly 500 people at “A Day for Prevention.”
Gov. Doug Burgum: “We’re really missing the piece of youth engagement. We really need to focus on, what can people do in our state if you’re under the age of 21.”
Kathryn Burgum: “I just met with some kids at century, and the middle school. And they just don’t have enough to do. Not enough activites that don’t involve alcohol. So that’s what they end up doing.”
The hope is to stop the problem before it starts.
Laura Anderson; Behavioral Health Division: “The unique thing about today is focusing on prevention. It’s preventing something from happening; it’s the unseen and the unknown.”
And when you get ahead of the problem, it can save you a lot.
Laura Anderson; Bahevioral Health Division: “When we talk about prevention being cost affective, when we invest $1 in prevention, we save up to $64 dollars in return. And that $64 is savings in treatment costs, healthcare costs, criminal justice. All of those different areas that we end up paying on the backend, that we save if we prevent someone from having a substance abuse disorder in the first place.”
Karen Goyne is a Dickinson nurse.
She previously worked in addiction treatment, and came to learn how to help on the other end.
Karen Goyne; Behavioral Health Nurse at Southwestern District Health Unit in Dickinson: “I know that prevention will do wonders, because when I look at the length of treatment it takes to overcome these addictions, it’s very costly, not just in material money, it is so impactful.”
More than 1 in 5 (22%) adult arrests in ND are for driving under the influence.
43 percent of fatal crashes in the state are alcohol-related
ND ranks 4th in the nation for current binge alcohol use
Opioid overdose deaths have more than tripled from 2013 to 2015
The state has had a 60 percent increase in number of controlled substance prescriptions dispensed from 2008 to 2015
And those in this room are ready to head back to their community’s and put addiction prevention to work.
The momentum won’t be slowing down. Plans have already been made for the next “Recovery Reinvented” in Fargo this September.
A day of prevention also brought in several law enforcement officers across the state..
Many times, when an officer deals with substance abusers.. it is long after prevention is an option.
Bismarck Police Chief Dan Donlin says he came today because we wants his roll in substance abuse prevention to more than administering Narcan. And it all starts with education.
Dan Donlin: “Education with our police youth bureau and the school resource officers, connecting relationships in the schools and the students. It’s education them. One- to educate them that law enforcement is not the enemy and two, just educating on the damages and dangers alcohol and drugs provide.
Donlin says he hopes the community knows that law enforcement is a part of the solution for prevention.