According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, there were 54 drug overdose deaths in North Dakota in 2016.
The CDC reports that the epidemic is getting worse.
The midwest saw a 70% jump in overdoses from July 2016 through September 2017.
As national and state agencies work to collect more data, local groups are doing the same – but they can’t do it alone.
The Mayor’s Committee on Addiction was formed in July, and now they’ve made so much headway that they’ve been able to get more than 200,000 dollars in grant funding to provide the most effective way to fight the opioid crisis.
“Everybody is different, and no one treatment plan or recovery plan is going to fit everybody,” Paul Stroklund said.
His daughter has battled addiction for years – and that’s how he eventually found himself as the chairperson for the Education and Outreach Committee – a subdivision of the Mayor’s Committee on Addiction.
Over the past eight months, the committee has worked to identify problems related to the opioid crisis in the community.
“We knew we were going to need a lot of people power,” grant writer, Megan Laudenschlager said.
The need for people power is what landed 208,000 dollars from The Bush Foundation.
“It enables us to do these tasks. Up til now, we didn’t have the resources,” said Stroklund.
In order to use the grant dollars from The Bush Foundation, the Mayor’s Council on Addiction had to come up with a list of activities and outcomes to be able to use the money for.
Some of those are finding resource availability and gaps in services, traveling to similar areas, and utilizing their results to find more funding.
“We’ve already identified things that we can bring back,” Stroklund said.
“We’ve also identified things that, oh, you don’t even want to waste your money on that, it didn’t work.”
“Im very excited for what the outcomes of the project will be because they will be well thought out, they’re not going to be band aid solutions,” Laudenschlager added.
Grant funding won’t just be for Minot – it will also cover a 100 mile radius to help people in rural areas find and access readily available resources.
More than that, money will also go towards education and prevention.
“We’re trying to change that face of addiction, and that’s a hard thing to do,” said Renae Byre, Director of Health Promotions at First District Health Unit – she is also a part of the committee.
Representatives from health departments and providers, the school district, existing treatment centers, law enforcement, and concerned community members have all come together through the Mayor’s Committee on Addiction.
Stroklund said these efforts will go towards whatever addiction problems are present specific to the area.