Bismarck, N.D. (KXNET) — The North Dakota Department of Human Services says the Substance Use Disorder (SUD) Voucher Program will soon be extended to licensed treatment providers in states on the border of North Dakota.

Originally established in 2016, the SUD Voucher Program was created to support eligible residents of North Dakota who need assistance in accessing addiction treatment and recovery services. During the 2021 legislative season, ND lawmakers passed House Bill 1402, granting out-of-state providers the option to access the SUD Voucher Program.

The vouchers provide financial reimbursement for therapy, transportation, screening, and evaluation related to overcoming substance addiction.

Since its inception, over 5,000 individuals have used the program to receive services from 29 licensed private providers across the state. With the program being extended, representatives and health specialists are hoping that individuals in underserved areas near the border have the ability to get much-needed treatment.

Before participating in the program, treatment providers in border states are required to submit an assessment of need. This must identify current barriers for North Dakotans who seek treatment and how they plan to reduce them. Providers who not only submit this application but also offer person-centered outpatient services and are in good standing with their respective state’s licensing agency.

“This enhancement to the voucher program aligns with the department’s key priority – services closer to home,” said Behavioral Health Division Director Pamela Sagness in a press release. “When people can eliminate driving long distances and access services as close to their homes as possible, it allows for family and friends to be a part of their lives, which is important for their long-term recovery.”

The Department says anyone experiencing a crisis of behavioral health should call 211 for immediate help. The 211 line is open 24/7, including weekends and holidays.

More information about the new SUD voucher policy can be found at www.behavioralhealth.nd.gov.